As cyclone Nisarga is likely to hit the west coast of Maharashtra on Wednesday, ten teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in state for rescue operations, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday.
The state which is already battling high number of coronavirus cases, is on high alert owing to the cyclone. On Tuesday Maharashtra reported 2287 new covid-19 cases, taking the state's tally of coronavirus positive cases to 72300. Active cases however, are at 38493.
Owing to the cyclone, an alert has been issued for Mumbai city and suburbs, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.
"Our entire coastal belt will be affected. The Army and the Navy has been kept on standby and the NDRF deployed. Home Minister Amit Shah held a review meeting with us and said that the Centre is with us," said Thackeray in his address to the state urging people living in coastal areas to remain indoors for two days, starting tomorrow when cyclonic storm Nisarga is expected to make landfall near Alibaug.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm will cross North Maharashtra and adjoining South Gujarat coast between Harihareshwar and Daman, close to Alibaug (in Maharashtra's Raigad), on June 3 as a 'severe cyclonic storm' with a maximum sustained wind 100-110 gusting to 120 kmph and bring in very heavy rains. The IMD added that the cyclone will have an impact on Mumbai.
"Out of the 16 NDRF units, 10 have been deployed for rescue operation during the cyclone, and 6 units are in reserve," the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said adding that precautions will be taken during the relief and rehabilitation works, considering prevalence of covid-19.
"Fishermen have been called back from the sea and the coast guards have also been notified to not allow any activities," the CM said.
Slum dwellers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, particularly those living in low-lying areas, have been instructed to evacuate. The CM's office said that care is being taken to prevent power outages and precautions are being followed in chemical industries and the nuclear power plant in Palghar and Raigad.
"Teams are prepared to tackle the likely damage that will be caused by tree falls, landslides and heavy rainfall," the CM said.
The control room at the Mantralaya (state secretariat) is operational round the clock and instructions have been given to the Army, Air Force, Navy and the IMD to ensure coordination, Thackeray's office said.
Mumbai police have also issued an order prohibiting the visit or assembly of people along the coast, like beaches, promenades, parks etc. The order, issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by the Deputy Commissioner of police, will come in force from midnight and remain effective till 12.00 hours on June 4.
Anyone violating the order will be booked under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and can face a maximum of six months of jail term or fine or both.
Cylcone "Nisarga", also threatens to undo the 1000 bed open-air hospital created at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. The CM said as a precautionary measure BMC has shifted 150 patients who are admitted there to another hospital.
"As per CM’s directions, MMRDA is taking utmost care to protect Covid facility created at BKC. It can sustain the wind velocity of 80-100 kmph only," tweeted MMRDA on the micro blogging site. MMRDA is Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, a body of the Government of Maharashtra that is responsible for the infrastructure development of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.