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Not much damage by cyclone Fani in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 4, 2019  | 17:53 IST

(Eds: Updating with CM reax) Kolkata, May 4 (PTI) Except for damaging a few huts, cyclone Fani did not cause much havoc in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said as the severe cyclonic storm weakened Saturday morning and headed towards neighbouring Bangladesh. While flight operations resumed at the Kolkata airport at 9.57 am, train services on the Sealdah and Howrah sections are also getting back to normal. The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) also resumed its routine operation this morning at both Haldia and Kolkata docks. "The entire administration was awake the whole night. We were very worried about the cyclone Fani," Banerjee said. Banerjee had cancelled her election programmes and stayed put at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district to monitor the situation arising out of the cyclone. "There were not much damage in the state. At least 850 mud houses in the districts were partially damaged while 12 were completely destroyed," she said. Banerjee said the state government will extend help to people whose houses have been damaged due to the cyclone. Trees uprooted in different parts of the state due to speedy wind have been removed and the roads cleared for plying of vehicles, the chief minister said. Restoration of electricity snapped in different districts is underway. "Around 42,000 people have been evacuated by our people who took them to relief shelters. The civic services have been restored in Digha, Mandarmoni, whereas it is work in progress at other places," she said. The storm weakened on Saturday morning and moved towards Bangladesh. Kolkata witnessed wind speed of 30-40 kmph with moderate to heavy rainfall overnight. The very severe cyclonic storm weakened into a severe cyclonic storm over the Odisha coast, before moving further north-northeastwards and entering West Bengal through Kharagpur in West Midnapore around 12.30 am Saturday, officials said. "It has moved to Arambagh in Hooghly and is now in Nadia district from where it will go to Murshidabad district before entering Bangladesh. It is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further over the next six hours," Deputy Director General of the Regional Meteorological Centre here Sanjib Bandyopadhyay told PTI. Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, along with senior engineers of the civic body and local councillors, was on a night-long vigil in and around the city to keep a tab on the situation. "We had made arrangements to act on an emergency basis had Fani hit the city. But thank god nothing major has happened," Hakim told PTI. Much to the glee of passengers, flight operations, which was suspended from 3 pm on Friday, resumed at the Kolkata airport at 9.57 am Saturday, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said. Air India was the first airline to start operating out of Kolkata airport, the AAI official said, adding that a GoAir flight from Delhi was the first flight to land in Kolkata at 10.10 am. The AAI official said that airlines had refunded fares of cancelled flights to the passengers and took care of them. Very few passengers had stayed back at the airport on Friday, the official said. Out of an average 224 daily flights only 110 flights operated on Friday, the official said. Train services on the Sealdah and Howrah sections are also getting back to normal, officials said. The ferry services on river Hooghly, however, were yet to resume. Five persons were injured when a portion of the roof of a hutment collapsed on Friday night in central Kolkata's Beniatola Lane, police said. All the five injured persons were released after treatment. Kolkata Port Trust chairman Vinit Kumar said there had been no damages to the port infrastructure. "Operations at both Kolkata and Haldia docks have resumed since morning." PTI SCH BSM SBN SNS SOM SOM

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