BHUBANESWAR: Even as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted that the cyclone will skirt the State’s coast, the Odisha government on Saturday announced that it will not lower its guard and keep all preparations ready to deal with the situation.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said that much damage is not expected as the system is likely to move along the Odisha coast after recurving on May 10 night, but the State government will keep preparations ready to give shelter to over 7.5 lakh people.
The SRC said that 862 permanent cyclone shelters can give shelter to around 1.6 lakh people. Besides, 6,661 pucca buildings have been identified by the district collectors in which more than six lakh people can take shelter, he added.
The SRC said the government is not leaving anything to chance and has asked the collectors of four coastal districts - Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam - to take a decision considering the prevailing situation. He said that the picture will become clearer on Sunday after knowing the exact path of the system. There will be need for an evacuation from low-lying regions of some districts, if the system comes near to the coast, he added.
Jena said that the IMD has forecast that the sea will start to become rough from Sunday and turn highly turbulent with wind speed attaining a maximum speed of 100 kmph over the Bay of Bengal on May 9 and 10. He said that fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea from tomorrow onwards. Some of them have already returned from the sea and it is expected that all will return by tomorrow, he said and added that the government has taken the help of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard in this regard.
Besides, field officials of the Agriculture department have started meeting farmers of the coastal districts to advise them to save their crops in view of the expected heavy rainfall during the period, he added.