Cyclone Fani, which is spreading across the entire coastal belt in India, has affected the movement of several trains, thus causing a lot of inconvenience to passengers. The East Coast Railways have also issued a statement saying as many as 103 trains had been cancelled in Odisha alone as Cyclone Fani will make a landfall in the state on May 3, reported local media in the state. As many as 43 trains connected to south India have also been cancelled or delayed. As per the railways, these trains that run between Howrah and Puri and other South India destinations have been halted due to the 'yellow alert' issued by the weather department over Cyclone Fani. While South Eastern Railway zone has cancelled 17 trains between Puri and South India, a total of 26 trains originating from South India will not run on the scheduled routes today.
The Railways will also carry special patrolling as part of its precautionary measures to minimise the damage due to cyclone. The Bhadrak-Bhubaneswar-Puri-Visakhapatnam section of the Railways will not run when the cyclonic storm will pass the Odisha coast. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said that around 8 lakh people will be evacuated from the vulnerable areas by Thursday. The West Bengal government has also made elaborate precautionary arrangements to tackle its affects.
As precautionary measures, breakdown vans and relief trains have been kept ready to cater to areas likely to be affected by the cyclone in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The Railways is also in touch with the local authorities and disaster management teams. Separately, the East Coast Railway has issued an advisory for cancellation or regulating trains in areas which are likely to be affected by Fani, reported PTI. An alert has been sounded in all coastal districts and people living in the coastal areas along with tourists have been asked to leave and go to safer places, the official said. Fishermen, who have gone to the mid-sea, have been asked to return immediately, sources at the West Bengal secretariat said.
As per the South Zone Railways, these trains have been cancelled so far.
The government has said it continues to monitor the developing situation in East Coast of India over the cyclone and has authorised proactive deployment of resources from Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard for assistance. As per the weather department, Cyclone Fani is expanding in the area around West-central Bay of Bengal and is moving towards North-Eastwards at 7 kmph. Due to the extremely severe cyclone, normal life will be affected in Puri (Odisha), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Digha (West Bengal), the government said. "It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross Odisha Coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, around Puri during May 3 with maximum wind speed of 180 kmph dusting to 200 kmph," it added.
Before Cyclone Fani, a super cyclone had hit Odisha in 1999, which claimed over 10,000 lives.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JWTC) has said Cyclone Fani will cross Jagannath Puri on May 3 afternoon at a wind speed of 175 kmph before the landfall. Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard have been put on high alert to meet any eventuality. Personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire service have been deployed in vulnerable areas to assist the administration, an official said.
Edited by Manoj Sharma