Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Friday reviewed the preparations being undertaken to tackle the impending cyclone, ‘Jawad’, in the Bay of Bengal region and directed all agencies involved to ensure no life is lost and property damage is minimum.
The cyclonic storm is likely to reach the coast of north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha by Saturday morning and it is expected to move along the coast of Odisha and adjoining Andhra Pradesh and touch the shores around Puri by December 5 noon, according to the India Meteorological Department. Apart from these two states, West Bengal too could be affected by strong winds and heavy rains hitting its coastal areas.
“Reviewing the preparedness of the states and central agencies, the cabinet secretary emphasised that all protocols must be followed, so that there is no scope for loss of lives and damage to property is minimised,” said a government statement issued after a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), which is headed by Gauba .
“The cabinet secretary also directed that all fishermen and vessels which are out at sea, must be accounted for by the states concerned for which required assistance would be provided by the Indian coast guard and other central agencies,” it said.
Gauba also advised that “essential services may be restored in the shortest possible time with minimum disruption, for which advance action should be taken.” “Public messaging may be carried out to ensure that people in the path of the cyclone are provided with suitable instructions and guidance during the period. The states were also advised to ensure uninterrupted functioning of COVID-19 hospitals,” it said. This was the second meeting of the NCMC on ‘Jawad’. It had last met on December 1 on the cyclone.
The statement said chief secretaries and senior officers of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands apprised the NCMC of preparatory measures taken by them. “It was informed that all efforts are underway to ensure the safe return of fishermen from the sea. Cyclone shelters have been readied and evacuation of people from the low-lying areas is being carried out,” it said.
The agencies are working to ensure good stock of food grains, drinking water and other essential supplies.
“Teams for maintenance and restoration of power, roads, water supply and other essential services have also been positioned. Harvesting of standing crops is also being done to minimise damages,” the statement said.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has earmarked a total of 64 teams for deployment in the affected states. Officials from the ministries of home, ports, shipping and waterways, power, oil, department of fisheries, telecommunications, NDRF, IMD, chief of integrated defence staff and the national disaster management authority (NDMA) attended the meeting.