Bengal govt gears up for rain-related eventualities

The West Bengal government is fully geared up to meet any eventuality caused by excessive rain forecast in the coming week, particularly in three districts, Kolkata, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore, officials said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy rains in south Bengal next week, likely to be triggered by a cyclonic circulation that will form after Cyclone Gulab, which is expected to hit south Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh on Sunday evening.

West Bengal Chief Secretary H.K. Diwedi has held meetings with the respective district administrations and has given them a seven-point plan so that damages can be avoided.

The district administrations has been asked to move all the people residing in the low lying areas and in mud houses to the cyclone centres on Sunday itself. The fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea till October 5.

“During cyclones Amphan, Yaas and Bulbul, the state government had made an extensive plan for evacuation, rescue and rehabilitation, which produced extremely good results. We want to follow the same pattern here also,” a senior official of the state secretariat said.

The state government has also asked the district administrations to store dry food, water pouches and other relief materials as much as possible so that there is no dearth of relief items.

“A central control room has been opened at the disaster management department which will be in touch with the district administrations 24×7. All leaves of the state government employees have been cancelled and they have been asked to stay prepared for any kind of eventuality,” the official added.

The state government has also asked the district administration to keep a strict watch on the embankments and has asked them to keep the teams ready so that they can be rectified soon.

The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) has also been asked to keep an eye on the situation so that electrocution cases can be avoided.

Meanwhile, the Kolkata Police have opened a 24-hour control room at its headquarters in Lalbazar on Saturday. Officers from Kolkata Police, NDRF, Fire Brigade and Disaster Management Department will be present in the control room.

Sources in Kolkata Police said that they have formed 22 teams for the purpose of disaster management, seven of which will be stationed in the Bhabanipur area, which will go to the bypoll on September 30.

“There is by-election in Bhabanipur on September 30 and we want the elections to be held peacefully. We are taking all the measures so that people can come out and exercise their franchise,” a senior Kolkata Police officer said.