Cyclone Fani: Mamata Banerjee, Amit Shah cancel rallies

PTI

Kolkata: A traffic police personnel sits inside a kiosk during rainfall, in Kolkata, Friday, May 3, 2019. As Cyclone Fani moved closer, the West Bengal government sounded an alert in coastal East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts, asking tourists to leave seaside destinations and directing fishermen not to venture into the sea.(PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

Kolkata: A traffic police personnel sits inside a kiosk during rainfall, in Kolkata, Friday, May 3, 2019. As Cyclone Fani moved closer, the West Bengal government sounded an alert in coastal East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts, asking tourists to leave seaside destinations and directing fishermen not to venture into the sea.(PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled her public rallies scheduled for Friday and advised people not to pay heed to rumours and stay indoors as Cyclone Fani heads towards the state.

The chief minister said, “We are fully alert” and keeping a close watch on the situation.

“I will ask the common people to try to abstain from outdoor activities as much as possible in these two days. And if you have to go out, keep an eye on electric poles and live electric wires. Switch off cable television lines and put off gas cylinders during the storm,” Banerjee, who is staying at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district to monitor the situation, said.

The state government has sounded an alert to cope with the extremely severe cyclonic storm.

“I will ask the people not to be scared and pay heed to any rumour. Do not panic but stay calm… Take shelter at nearby relief shelters. The administration is alert and monitoring the situation from time to time,” she said.

City mayor Firhad Hakim is monitoring the situation from the control room of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation headquarters, Banerjee said.

The mayor will also be coordinating with the disaster management team, the chief minister said.

“All arrangements have been made for districts. Relief materials have been sent to districts and we have opened one monitoring cell at the state secretariat 24X7 to keep a watch on the situation. I will request people staying in dilapidated houses to move to safer places,” she said.

The state government has taken all precautionary measures for districts like East and West Midnapore, both North and South 24 Parganas besides, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram and Kolkata and Sundarbans to avert any untoward incident.

Six National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed at Digha in East Midnapore, Kakdwip and Dhamakhali in South 24 Parganas, Basirhat in North 24 Parganas, Basirhat and Kharagpur in Purba Midnapore and Sankrail in Jhargram.

Four teams of the State Disaster Response Force(SDRF) have been moved to Basanti in South 24 Parganas district, Contai and Haldia in East Midnapore and Aramnbagh in Hooghly.

One standby team of the SDRF will be ready at the state secretariat to move to any place.

Several trains from the city have been cancelled while the city airport has decided to remain shut for nearly 20 hours from 3 PM Friday till 8 AM Saturday.

Kolkata Police has opened a control room at its headquarters to monitor the situation in the city.

All government and government-aided schools have suspended classes from Friday and the Health Department has cancelled leave of doctors and the staff till May 6.

Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 175 kmph, the cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ slammed into the Odisha coast on Friday morning.

BJP president Amit Shah’s three election rallies in Jharkhand on Friday have been cancelled due to the cyclonic storm Fani which slammed the coast of neighbouring Odisha, a party leader said here.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey and Ajsu party president and former deputy chief minister Sudesh Mahto will address the rallies, BJP Jharkhand unit Spokesman Pradip Sinha said here.

“The election rallies by party president Amit Shah ji in Koderma, Khunti and Ranchi have been cancelled, Sinha said here.

Shah was scheduled to address the rallies ahead of the May 6 polling for the three Lok Sabha seats.

Jharkhand’s bordering districts like Dumka, East and West Singhbhum are on alert following the cyclonic storm Fani hitting the Odisha coast.

The administration has issued orders for closure of schools in the districts bordering Odisha.

(PTI)