KOLKATA: Responding to the warning message issued by the Met office, West Bengal government and coast guard authorities have kept all preparedness in place as cyclone Bulbul is likely to make landfall between Saturday evening and midnight over the Bay of Bengal.
On Friday, the regional Met office issued a warning saying the squally wind of 100 km per hour with gust up to 135 km per hour was likely to hit Sunderbans and the Bay of Bengal.
The National Disaster Reserve Force (NDRF) kept its 35 teams on standby to launch rescue operations and provide helps to affected people along Bengal—Odisha border region. Fishing and ferry service were suspended in the coastal area and in Kolkata throughout on Saturday. The Kolkata airport authorities suspended flight operations for 12 hours from 6 pm on Saturday. Before the shutdown, 23 flights were cancelled on Saturday.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived at Nabanna, the state secretariat, where a special control room was set up to monitor damages caused by Bulbul.
Mamata said she herself is monitoring the situation and the administration has taken all measures to tackle any contingency in view of Cyclone Bulbul. She appealed to citizens to maintain calm and not to panic.
"Cyclone Bulbul is about to pass through Bengal. Our state administration is closely monitoring the situation 24x7. We are taking all measures to tackle any contingency. Special control rooms have been set up and NDRF-SDRF teams are deployed. Schools, colleges and anganwadi centres have been closed and more than 1.2 lakh people have already been rescued from the vulnerable coastal areas," Mamata tweeted.
G. K. Das, the regional Met director said, "During landfall, Bulbul is likely to be in the very severe cyclonic storm category with maximum sustained windspeed of 100 km to 120 km per hour gusting up to 135 km per hour. It will prevail from Saturday evening for next 12 hours along the coastal pockets of the West Bengal. The storm may cause damage to kuchha houses, power and communication line and roads in parts of West Bengal."
Bulbul entered 190 km southwest of Sagar Islands on Saturday morning and is likely to weaken gradually and cross the coast between Sagar Islands and Khepupara in Bangladesh with a reduced force, the Met department said.
Squally wind with 50 km to 70 km per hour speed is likely to cross over Kolkata and its adjoining Howrah, Hooghly, parts of South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas districts. Ferry services on the Hooghly, between Kolkata and Howrah, were suspended from Saturday morning.