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regular-article-logo Friday, 21 June 2024

Mission mode for possible cyclones

Although there is no specific warning, government does not want to be caught on wrong foot in case any storm hits the state, says senior state government official

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 03.05.23, 05:08 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File photo

District magistrates have been asked to start preparations for a possible cyclone in the next few weeks considering the fact that severe cyclones like Aila and Amphan had hit the state in May.

“Although there is no specific warning of any cyclone now, the government does not want to be caught on the wrong foot in case any storm hits the state. The chief secretary gave required instructions to district magistrates during a video conference today (Tuesday),” said a senior state government official.

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According to sources, the chief secretary, H.K. Dwivedi, said cyclone shelters should be kept ready and dry food stocked and damaged embankments repaired at the earliest.

A cyclonic circulation is likely to take shape over the southeast Bay of Bengal on May 6, the Met office has said. It is likely to turn into a low-pressure area around May 8. Till Tuesday night, there was no formal word from the Met office on whether the system would turn into a cyclone.

Sources in the disaster management department said planning always helped save lives as well as minimise the harassment of common people during a natural disaster.

Sources present at the meeting said there were more than 150 cyclone shelters in three coastal districts — East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas. Cyclones leave a huge impact on these districts.

“If cyclone shelters are kept ready, people can be evacuated to these structures in advance, which will prevent the loss of lives. Keeping dry food ready is also an important exercise that helps minimise people’s sufferings,” said an official.

Officials of the irrigation department said they were ready to take up the repairs along the damaged stretches but the funds crunch was a problem. “According to a rough estimate, about 90km to 100km stretches of river embankments have to be repaired immediately in three coastal districts. But it will require about Rs 80 crore to undertake at least the patchwork. We are not sure whether the funds will be released soon,” said a source.

If damaged embankments are repaired, they will stop the gushing seawater.

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