The Weekend Leader - Bengal govt on alert even as cyclone Jawad weakens

Bengal govt on alert even as cyclone Jawad weakens




The West Bengal government is not taking any chances even as cyclonic storm Jawad -- gradually losing its strength, is likely to enter Bangladesh touching Sundarbans without making a landfall, an official said on Saturday.

According to the Met Department, Jawad was about 200 km from Visakhapatnam on Saturday afternoon. "It tends to weaken gradually during next six hours, and reach near Puri around Sunday noon as a deep depression. It is likely to enter Bangladesh touching Sundarbans," the department said.

"We are continuously monitoring the movement of the cyclone and it seems that there will be no landfall so far," a senior Met Department official said.

As there will be heavy to very heavy rainfall due to the depression in several South Bengal districts including South and North 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore and Hooghly and Howrah, the state government has asked the district administration to evacuate people from the coastal areas and take them to the cyclone centres.

The state has also asked the districts to keep in stock adequate dry food, tarpaulin, medicines and other relief materials so that the people do not suffer because of necessary things.

The district administration besides resisting people from going to the sea and started evacuating people from the low-lying areas.

According to a state government estimate, more than 1 lakh people have been moved to the safer cyclone centres and safe houses from the four coastal districts in the last two days.

"We have made all the arrangements so that the people don't suffer," a senior district administrative official said.

The state government has cancelled the leaves of all the people from several departments like irrigation and waterways, disaster management, police and agriculture.

"They have been asked to stay back if needed so that the administration can use them effectively in relief and rescue work. A 24x7 control room has been opened at the state secretariat in Nabanna where the situation will be monitored continuously," a senior official of the Disaster Management department said.

Apart from the districts, Kolkata police and Kolkata Municipal Corporation have geared up to meet the eventualities.

The Kolkata River Traffic Police has started keeping a strict watch on the river. Ferry services have remained suspended.

Kolkata police have kept eight speed boats ready so that it can be pressed into action in any kind of eventuality.

A control room has been opened at the Kolkata police headquarters in Lalbazar where an officer in the rank of Assistant Commissioner is on duty. -IANS

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