Cyclone Titli update: A “very severe cyclonic storm” is set to hit Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast on Thursday morning even as the BJD government has ordered a massive evacuation of around two lakh people in five coastal districts across the state. In its forecast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted rainfall and wind speed hovering up to 140 to 165 kmph along and off coasts of Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh.
School, colleges to be shut:
All schools, colleges and Anganwadi centres will remain closed on Thursday and Friday in view of IMD’s forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall across the state as per state government’s order. The college student union elections, which were to be held on Thursday, have been cancelled.
Preparations in full swing:
Preparations are on a war-footing note as the CM Patnaik asked the authorities to ensure “zero casualty” and keep the cyclone shelters ready for housing the people. An official at the Special Relief Commissioners (SRC) said, “By Wednesday afternoon, as many as 50,000 people, mostly in Ganjam and Puri districts, have been evacuated.” The chief secretary said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel have been deployed in districts.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said the Odisha government was prepared to face possible floods in view of the heavy rainfall across the state. Sethi said the state government has already informed the Air Force and Indian Navy about the situation and may take their help if required. Around 300 motor boats have been arranged to assist in rescue operation as there is a likelihood of flood situation due to the possibility of heavy rains till October 11. All the 836 cyclone and flood shelters have been kept in a state of preparedness, while adequate relief materials arranged, the SRC added.
Districts which maybe affected:
Coastal districts like Puri, Khurda, Ganjam, Kendrapara and Jagtsinghpur are likely to bear the glare of Cyclone Titli tomorrow. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed the collectors of these districts to start immediate evacuation of people in the low-lying areas, according to reports. People are being shifted to shelters. IMD said that the storm is likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam around 5.30 am.
Heavy rains to lash West Bengal during Durga Puja:
As the biggest festival of Bengalis is about to begin, heavy to very heavy rainfall may dampen the spirit. Under the impact of the cyclone Titli, rain is predicted in districts East and West Midnapore, Jhargram, South and North 24 Parganas. Tourists in Digha, Sankarpur, Mandarmani were asked “not to undergo any seawater-bound activities during this period,” as per the Met Department.
Trains diverted, cancelled:
At least six trains were cancelled, three were short terminated and around ten trains passing through East Coast Railway (ECoR) were diverted, according to officials. Indian Railways has decided to halt train services between Khurda Road in Odisha and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh, as per South Eastern Railway (SER) spokesman Sanjay Ghosh.
Long distance trains slated to pass through East Coast Railway jurisdiction between Khurda Road and Vizianagaram on Howrah-Chennai main line may be diverted via Kharagpur-Jharsuguda-Nagpur-Balharshah-Vijayawada route, he said.
The 12841 Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express, 12863 Howrah-Yesvantpur Express, 12504 Agartala-Bengaluru Cant Humsafar Express have been diverted via Kharagpur-Jharsuguda-Sambalpur-Rayagada-Vizianagaram route. Wednesday’s 12839 Howrah-Chennai Mail has been rescheduled to leave Howrah at 8.00 AM Thursday, while 12660 Gurudev Express of Wednesday will leave Shalimar at 8.15 AM the next day.