Model code of conduct suspended in coastal districts, trains cancelled, administration readies to rescue
The Odisha government is taking measures to face the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, which is likely to hit the State’s coast in the Puri district on Friday evening.
Twelve senior officials were on Wednesday assigned for supervision of restoration works in the coastal districts of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Cuttack. All concerned departments were also pressed into service to focus on saving lives and property in case of any eventuality. The State government’s Health Department has set up control rooms at all levels of administration.
“Evacuation and rescue of people likely to be affected to safe places, restoration of road communication immediately after cyclone, and proper distribution of relief materials with zero casualties are is the foremost priority of Odisha Police,” said State Director General of Police R. P. Sharma.
While the District Collectors were busy preparing the administration to evacuate people from villages close to the sea or villages alongside the rivers from Thursday, senior police officers have been sent to the coastal districts to coordinate with the district administration and other connected line agencies and field functionaries for rescue and relief operations.
The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha has also taken several measures to ensure the safety of the electronic voting machines (EVM) in the constituencies along the coastal region of the State, where simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were held recently. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has suspended the model code of conduct (MCC) from 11 coastal districts of the State to facilitate relief and rescue operations. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Tuesday urged the ECI to lift the MCC for this.
Mr. Patnaik had also urged the ECI to postpone polling in the Patkura Assembly constituency under Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat. The ECI had earlier fixed May 19 as the date for the polling in Patkura. Polling in the constituency, which was scheduled to be held on April 29, was adjourned due to the death of Biju Janata Dal nominee Bed Prakash Agarwalla on April 20. The Commission had not passed any order in this regard till Wednesday afternoon.
As many as 74 trains have been cancelled by the East Coast Railway between Bhadrak and Vizianagaram from Thursday in view of the cyclone. Examinations scheduled in all colleges under the Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT), scheduled to be held on May, 2, 3 and 4, have been rescheduled to May 25, 27 and 28 respectively.
According to the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Cyclone Fani lies over west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal, about 680 km south-south-west of Puri on Wednesday. It is likely to have landfall in Puri district coast on Friday with a maximum sustained wind of speed 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph.
The districts of Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur may experience extremely heavy rainfall during the landfall.