With Cyclone Fani entering Bengal, the state administration, municipal corporations and police personnel have taken all efforts to ensure adequate precautionary measures.
The administration has set up a special control room and floated helpline numbers — 1070 (toll free) and 22535185.
On Friday, the Kolkata River Traffic Police conducted a special drive to alert people by using loud speakers. It made special announcements at Howrah and Millennium Park jetty in the Babu Ghat area. The Kolkata Police has opened a control room at its headquarters to monitor the situation in the city. All government and state-aided schools were suspended from Friday. The health department cancelled leave of doctors and other staff till May 6 to ensure adequate manpower.
The Kolkata Police too has opened a control room at its headquarters to monitor the situation.
“All police stations have been alerted and asked to take necessary actions to ensure quick rescue and relief. Most of the shopping malls in the city were shut since Friday evening,” said a police official.
Shopping malls, movie halls and street markets remained closed after 3 pm in most of the areas in Kolkata. All parks and public places were evacuated by the authorities concerned, who also sounded an alert for people to stay indoors.
“I came to South City Mall with my children to watch the movie, Avengers. But the mall is shut because of Fani, so we are heading home,” said Arindam Dutta, a resident of Kolkata. Even Gariahat and Hathibagan markets were closed down.
Following Mayor Firhad Hakim’s instructions, all hoardings were dismantled to ensure less damage during the cyclone. Leaves of all civic body employees were also cancelled. With the help of police, the civic body vacated all dilapidated buildings of the city.
“I was getting ready for office when suddenly we were asked to evacuate the building. The civic body had made arrangements, but we preferred to go to our relatives’ place in Rajarhat,” Ashis Shaw, an IT sector employee residing in Burrabazar area told The Indian Express. Municipal corporations officials said such actions were taken to ensure no life is lost due to building collapse. They also did not rule out the chances of waterlogging in the city and assured that the civic body is making arrangements for quick water drainage by alerting all pumping stations.
“There will be arrangements of relief material, food and water in all boroughs,” said an official. Like Kolkata Police, other commissionerate areas have also sounded alert and have asked all officials to be prepared for the cyclone.
“We have started a special 24×7 control room with additional manpower and senior officials to monitor it. Two DMG teams have been stationed at New Town and in Salt lake,” said Amit Javalgi, Deputy Commissioner of Police of Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate. “We are in touch with Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, HIDCO and NKDA to ensure assistance to them. All boat rides in Ecopark have been suspended as per government order. We are in touch with the neighbouring districts to ensure better coordination to ensure safety and smooth traffic movement. Additional manpower has been deployed to manage traffic,” said an official.
The state government, along with Chief Secretary Malay De held a high-level meeting at Nabanna on Thursday with all departments concerned and senior officials of the Navy, Coast Guard, NDRF, State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and Kolkata Police. Based on the weather department’s alert, all stakeholders and agencies were asked to take proper action to ensure minimum damage by the cyclone. The Kolkata Port Trust also issued a general alert for all ships in the docks both at Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex, which have been specifically advised to take all precautionary measures.
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