Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday called up Tamil Nadu and Kerala chief ministers and assured them of all help in dealing with the situation arising out of Cyclone Ockhi while the National Crisis Management Committee reviewed rescue and relief operations in affected areas. Singh spoke to Edappadi K Palaniswami and Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively, about the situation in areas affected by the cyclone, a home ministry official said. He also called up the administrator of Lakshadweep, Farooq Khan, and enquired about the situation in the islands. The Centre is providing all possible assistance to these states and union territories and, rescue and relief operations are going on in full swing, the official said. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, today reviewed rescue and relief operations being carried out in high seas and coastal areas hit by Cyclone Ockhi. The NCMC took stock of the preparedness in Maharashtra and Gujarat which are likely to be impacted by the cyclone, an official statement said, adding the very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi over east central Arabian sea moved further northwards with a speed of 13 kmph early this morning.
The cyclone is very likely to move North-North Eastward and weaken gradually. It will then cross the coasts of south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra near Surat as a deep depression by midnight of December 5, it said. The committee also took note of another depression forming in the southeast Bay of Bengal adjoining the South Andaman sea and reviewed the preparedness activities undertaken by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Necessary advisories have been issued to fishermen and others. The chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have taken necessary steps to deal with any eventualities in their states, the statement said. Sinha held a video conference with the chief secretaries and senior officers of the affected states and union territories to review situation.
The meeting was also attended by officials of Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Defence, Indian Navy, India Air Force, Indian Coast Guard, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Indian Meteorological Department and others. The government agencies at the Centre and affected states are regularly monitoring the cyclonic storm and are conducting necessary relief and rescue operations.
The cyclone has ravaged a large part of coastal areas in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep. Indian Coast Guard, the Air Force, the Navy, NDRF and local government agencies are continuing search and rescue operations. The NCMC is monitoring the situation and has provided all necessary help to the affected states and union territory, the official said, adding if necessary, additional help would be provided. Naval ships, helicopters, Coast Guard vessels and Air Force planes are engaged in the rescue and relief operations and efforts are on to trace some 100 missing fishermen.