Bhubaneswar: A day before an extremely severe Cyclone Fani is expected to make landfall near the pilgrim town of Puri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high level meeting to review the preparedness.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said Cyclone Fani is heading towards Puri with wind speeds ranging between 180-190km per hour gusting to 210 kmph and is expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon near Balukhanda area in Puri district.
Fani lay centred about 360 km south-southwest of Puri and 190 km off Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh till 11.30 am on Thursday and was moving towards the coast at a speed of 16km an hour.
The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the PM, the Additional Principal Secretary to the PM, the Home Secretary, and other senior officials from the IMD, NDRF, NDMA and PMO.
The PM was briefed on the likely path of the cyclone, and the ongoing precautionary and preparatory measures being undertaken.
The PM directed to ensure adequate resources; deployment of teams from NDRF and the Armed Forces; arrangements to provide drinking water; and standby systems to restore power and telecom services.
He also instructed senior Central Government officers to maintain close coordination with officers of the affected States, to ensure preventive measures, and also to take effective steps for relief and rescue operations, as required.
Storm surge of about 1.5 meter height above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur Districts of Odisha at the time of landfall.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said the process of evacuation of at least 800,000 people on Odisha’s coast, as well as 11 interior districts, is going on. The process will be completed before Thursday evening. Odisha has 879 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters to accommodate the evacuated people.
In addition to it, school and college buildings are being used to house the evacuated people. The livestock of the people are also being evacuated and housed at these cyclone shelters.
The East Coast Railway has cancelled 103 trains in the first phase and is likely to cancel more on Friday on account of the cyclone.