KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said the state was prepared to combat the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani that is likely to affect six southern districts, while urging people to stay alert and not to panic.
The cyclone made landfall on neighbouring Odisha's eastern coast on Friday morning. Despite extensive damage caused by near 200 kmph winds and heavy to very heavy rainfall, no loss of life has been reported so far.
It is now located 418 km southwest of Kolkata and 364 Km, southwest of the East Midnapore district sea resort Digha.
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Six districts in Gangetic West Bengal likely to be affected are East and West Midnapore, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Kolkata.
"I am constantly monitoring the situation. Our party has cancelled all the political programmes and electoral campaigns for the next 48 hours. I have also asked Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim to cancel all engagements and work in close coordination with the disaster management teams there.
"I urge people to stay alert and not panic," said Banerjee, who was in West Midnapore district's Kharagpur for a pre-scheduled party event.
"Our administration is fully prepared to tackle the impending disaster. Relief materials were sent to the respective districts and NDRF personnel have been deployed. I would appeal to people to remain indoors and stay away from water-bodies or electric poles.
"Those who are staying in houses identified as dangerous by the municipal bodies should take shelter somewhere else for the next two days till the disaster is over," she said.
The Bengal administration has issued a high alert in the coastal regions and asked people living in mud houses to move to various cyclone shelters and school buildings in the region.
All precautionary measures like flight cancellation at airports, cancellation of trains and water transport services have been taken.