Though Cyclone ‘Vayu’ changed its tracks and is not expected to directly hit through a landfall at Gujarat coast as per the IMD update, Gujarat-based ports will remain close till the strong winds and high waves on the coastal areas normalise.
Sources in the state ports and transport department confirmed that all the ports under Gujarat Maritime Board as well as bigger ports like Kandla port and Adani Group’s port in the Gulf of Kutch stopped functioning from Wednesday onwards. Decision on resuming activities at these ports would be taken on Friday after reviewing the situation at ground zero, said a senior official.
Ports situated in Gulf of Khambhat including Hazira, Dahej and Pipavav too will decide on resuming operations only after the effect of ‘Vayu’ nullifies.
As per the IMD update on Thursday, the cyclone likely to move northwest, skirting the Saurashtra coast and most probably diverted towards Oman coast. However, the Gujarat government is not taking any chance and has maintained high alert even as strong wind, high waves and rainfall were reported in the coastal areas of Saurashtra region.
Gujarat’s additional chief secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar said that nearly 2.75 lakh people have been evacuated to safer places and they are asked to stay away from affected areas till Friday evening. “We are not allowing movements in coastal areas and despite change of direction of the cyclone, the state government’s preparedness to continue at same level till it passes through the state completely. Those who are staying at shelter homes should continue to remain there,” he added.
Since wee hours on Thursday many parts of Saurashtra and Kutch region have witnessed rains between half-an-inch to two inches. In the next 48 hours, there has been forecast of rain up to 10 inches with high intensity wind in parts of Saurashtra region. Trains, bus services and flights in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch region have been cancelled till Friday. Three evacuation special trains are put into service — one from Okha in Saurashtra to Rajkot and two trains with 21 coaches for Ahmedabad.
Due to high velocity wind electricity in nearly 450 villages in coastal areas of Gujarat hampered. Heavy rains at the biggest ship recycling yard at Alang were reported on Thursday. Senior officials of the state government have also held a meeting with mobile operators to ensure uninterrupted services across the state.