Bengal govt reviews preparedness for cyclone Yass, issues alert


The state government is all prepared to take on the cyclonic storm Yass that is likely to make a landfall along Bengal-Odisha coastline on May 26 morning.

In a high-level meeting, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has asked all the concerned departments to work round the clock and evacuate people from the possible path of the storm. The state has also set-up a control room to monitor the whole situation.

“I have extensively reviewed the Disaster Management preparedness with regard to the impending Yaas cyclone with all senior officers of relevant Central and State agencies along with DMs & SPs. All officials have been advised integrated command, advance planning and early evacuation from coastal & riverine areas to rescue shelters including cyclone & flood shelters, and to conduct relief and rehabilitation operations at the earliest,” the chief minister said.

“Fishermen have been alerted to immediately return. 24×7 control rooms have been set up (Ph No – 1070 & 033-22143526). All agencies have been asked to spring into action. Relief materials have been dispatched & Quick Response Teams are mobilised. I request all to stay alert,” she added.

Last year, during Amphan, electricity was worst affected and it took more than 10 days to restore normalcy. Taking lessons from the past, the state electricity department is making all possible arrangements to have an uninterrupted power supply particularly in the hospitals and safe homes that house a huge number of corona patients.

“We have received an alert from the weather office. The chief secretary held a meeting on Friday following which a meeting was held at our department. We have taken some decisions today. Learning from last time’s experience we have come up with a comprehensive plan this time at the micro level so as to ensure immediate repair and restoration work,” said power minister Aroop Biswas.

Six districts that have been identified to be at high risk of devastation by the cyclone are namely North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and East and West Midnapore. Every block of these districts will have three High Tension and three Low Tension Gangs for undertaking immediate restoration work. Same will be followed for Bidhannagar. Each Gang will have six to seven electricity workers. The Gangs will report to the BDOs by 1 pm on May 25. In Kolkata, two Gangs would be deployed for every KMC ward along with materials. Biswas on Sunday held a meeting with CESC and took stock of the preparedness.

A control room has been set up in the power department that will function 24×7 from May 25. The contact numbers for the control room are 8900793503 and 8900793504. The minister along with additional chief secretary, MD of state power distribution corporation and chief engineer distribution would be present at the control room on May 25 and 26 for closely monitoring the situation.

The district administrations of South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore are taking all possible measures to minimise damages caused by the cyclonic storm Yass that is expected to reach North Bay of Bengal near West Bengal and adjoining North Odisha & Bangladesh Coasts on May 26.

District Magistrate (DM), South 24 Parganas, P Ulaganathan held a coordination meeting at SDO office, Kakdwip and took stock of preparedness at the ground level that includes readying of the various cyclone centres for temporary lodging of the residents who live close to the river or sea and are at high risk of the devastation of the cyclone. A total of 115 cyclone centres and several school buildings have been readied after sanitisation.

The repair of the embankments has been taken up on a war footing and relief materials in the form of dry food, water have been procured.

“We have laid special emphasis upon the fact that the COVID hospitals or safe homes are not disturbed by any means due to the cyclone. Arrangements of generators, oxygen, medicines, Covid materials and ambulances have been made,” a senior district official said.

In the coastal areas like Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Ramangar etc in East Midnapore, the district administration has taken measures to shift residents of kaccha houses to cyclone centres or school buildings.

Embankments are being repaired on a war footing and constant miking is being carried out for creating awareness about the cyclone. Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea from Monday. More than 75 km area in East Midnapore is located in the coastline.

Meanwhile, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata (SMP) has also taken measures in view of the impending cyclone to avoid loss of human lives, vessels, property etc. Control rooms at Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex have started operation.

“Before onset of the Cyclone, all port vessels will be taken inside the dock for shelter. No ships will be kept in river anchorages or jetties,” a senior SMP official said.