NEW DELHI: With Cyclone Amphan likely to make a landfall on West Bengal and Odisha coasts on Wednesday, the Centre and states have stepped up operations anticipating damage from the super cyclone.
On Tuesday, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired the third meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review the preparedness of states and central ministries, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met senior officials of the Union home ministry to take stock of the situation.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the super cyclone is expected to hit the West Bengal coast by early evening of Wednesday.
"Very high wind speeds ranging up to 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph are expected, accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges of 4-5 metres in the coastal districts of the State," the Centre said in a statement on Tuesday.
Districts of East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata are expected to be impacted. "The damage potential of the cyclone is expected to be higher than that of Cyclone ‘Bulbul’, which hit the West Bengal Coast on 9 November 2019," it added.
The cyclone will be accompanied by spells of heavy rainfall, squally winds and storm surges in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore in Odisha.
"Chief Secretary, Odisha and Additional Chief Secretary, West Bengal apprised the NCMC of preparatory measures taken by them. They informed that evacuation of people from the low lying areas is being carried out. All actions have been taken to stock food grains, drinking water and other essential supplies. Teams for maintenance and restoration of Power and Telecom services have also been positioned," the Centre added.
Gauba also asked the state governments to ensure "timely and complete evacuation of people from low lying areas in cyclone path and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies such as food, drinking water and medicines".
States have also been told to keep teams ready for road clearance and other restoration work, while 36 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in both the states.
"Rescue and relief teams of the Army and Navy along with ships and aircraft of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard have been put on standby. Officials from agencies of the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Power are also deployed in the States to ensure maintenance of essential services," the Central government said.