New Delhi: With cyclonic storm 'Yaas' expected to reach West Bengal and adjoining northern Odisha coasts by May 26 evening, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has emphasised that all measures should be taken in a timely manner to minimise loss of lives and destruction of property.
Reviewing the preparedness of central and state agencies during the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meeting, Gauba further emphasised on the early evacuation of people from the areas likely to be affected by the cyclone along with ensuring the return of all boats and vessels to the shores, so that there is zero loss of life.
Gauba also stressed that safety of Covid patients be ensured and disruption of functioning of Covid hospitals and centres avoided. He also advised that steps be taken to maintain the generation and movement of oxygen from the cyclone-affected areas, to other parts of the country.
The officer also said that preparatory arrangements should be made to restore power, telecom and other important services and directed the concerned agencies to work in close co-ordination and extend all requisite assistance to the states and the Union Territories (UTs).
Director-General of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) Mrutyunjay Mohapatra briefed the committee that the cyclone is expected to reach the West Bengal and adjoining northern Odisha coasts by the evening of May 26, with wind speeds ranging from 155 to 165 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges in the coastal districts of these states.
Chief Secretaries of the concerned states apprised the committee of the preparatory measures put in place to deal with the cyclonic storm.
Evacuation of people from the low-lying areas is being carried out. Adequate stocks of foodgrains, drinking water and other essential supplies have been arranged and preparations made to maintain essential services such as Power and Telecommunications, the Chief Secretaries informed during NCMC meeting.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General informed that the force's 65 teams are deployed, and 20 more teams are on standby. Rescue and relief teams of the Army, Navy and Coast Guard along with ships and aircrafts have also been deployed.
Necessary arrangements are also being made to ensure uninterrupted functioning of hospitals and Covid Care Centres, along with ensuring generation and supply of oxygen to Covid facilities across the country.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretaries and officers of West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar and Puducherry. Secretaries of Ministries of Home, Power, Shipping, Telecom, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Civil Aviation, Fisheries, Chairman Railway Board, Member Secretary NDMA, Chief IDS and DGs of Coast Guard, NDRF and IMD also participated in the meeting.