The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, on Friday took stock of the preparedness for rescue and relief operations for the severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’, which is likely to hit Odisha and West Bengal.
During a meeting, the cabinet secretary directed central government agencies to provide immediate assistance to the state governments.
He took stock of the current situation and preparedness for rescue and relief operations, an official statement said.
Gauba advised Odisha and West Bengal governments to take all steps to avoid casualties and damage to infrastructure, and assured them of all assistance from the Centre in this regard.
The severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’, currently over the Bay of Bengal, is likely to affect coastal districts of West Bengal and Odisha, the statement said.
The IMD informed that the cyclone, which had developed in Bay of Bengal, has now intensified and is likely to cross the West Bengal coast by the early morning of Sunday. Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, accompanied by winds reaching up to 110-120 Kmph and tidal waves up to 1.5 meter, are expected.
Officials of West Bengal and Odisha governments informed that necessary preparations have been made by them and SDRF and Fire Service teams have been positioned. Fishing operations have been suspended and people in low-lying areas being evacuated to shelter homes.
While 14 teams of the NDRF (around 45 personnel in each team) have been positioned, additional teams are being deployed at the request of states. Officials of the Ministry of Defence intimated that teams of Coast Guard, Indian Navy are already deployed and the Army and the Air Force are on standby.
The West Bengal government was specifically requested to ensure that people in low-lying areas in Sagar islands, East Medinipur and North and South 24 Pargana districts are evacuated to prevent any loss of life.
The state governments were also requested to ensure that all fishermen presently at sea are brought back to the shore.
Senior officials of the ministries of Home and Defence as well as those from the IMD, NDRF and the NDMA attended the meeting. Some officials from West Bengal and Odisha participated in the meeting through video conference.
With Agency Inputs