An all-out effort has been undertaken by the government to face the upcoming severe cyclone with various ministries joining hands to brace for the possible crisis.
After facing the devastation of Cyclone Tauktae, Ministries of Civil Aviation, Railways, Petroleum and Shipping among others are now focusing on the Eastern Coast which is bracing for Cyclone Yaas.
Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, along with Dharmendra Pradhan and Mansukh Mandaviya interacted with the industry leaders on preparedness for Cyclone Yaas.
The meeting was also attended by senior officers of IMD, NDMA, Shipping, Railways, and various State Governments.
According to India Meteorological Department, the depression over east central Bay of Bengal is very likely to move slowly north-westwards and intensify into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm and reach Northwest Bay of Bengal near north Odisha and West Bengal coasts by May 26 morning.
It is very likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar islands by evening of May 26 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India are closely monitoring the situation with regular review meetings.
Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola chaired a meeting to take stock of the preparedness of various airports that may likely be impacted by the cyclone.
The virtual meeting was attended by Airports Authority of India Chairman Sanjeev Kumar, Member (Operations) and Member (Planning), Regional Executive Director (Eastern Region), AAI Director (Eastern Region), Indian Meteorological Department, Station Commander and Senior Meteorological Officer, Indian Navy and Airport Directors of airports from Eastern and Southern Regions.
Due to heavy rain and winds of 20-25 knots gusting up to 35 knots, scheduled civil flight operations at the Port Blair Airport in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been suspended on May 24, 2021.
Senior management at AAI, along with IMD, is consistently monitoring the situation at all other airports in Southern and Eastern India.
The Civil Aviation Secretary instructed that all preventive measures be in place at all airports that are likely to be impacted by the Cyclone, to minimize any damage.
Keeping safety of airport infrastructure, manpower and safe flight operations in mind, airports have been advised to ‘anticipate, plan and protect’ to safeguard the airport infrastructure and civil aviation services.
AAI chairman along with senior officers, is closely monitoring the situation with regular review meetings.
While flight operations at Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Jharsuguda and Durgapur Airports are likely to be impacted by the cyclone, Ranchi, Patna, Raipur, Jamshedpur, Bagdogra, Cooch Behar, Vizag and Rajahmundry Airports have been instructed to be on alert in case the cyclonic winds change path.
As the cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’ is expected to trigger heavy downpour accompanied by high velocity winds in the locality, Paradip Port Trust (PPT) administration is fully geared up to meet any eventuality, said PPT chairman Vinit Kumar while interacting with officials over video-conferencing.
The drains in the locality have been cleared on a war footing in order to avoid any possible water-logging. Four teams of PPT with chain saws and pay loader are ready to function round-the-clock during the cyclone to clear the roads due to possible uprooting of trees.
All vessels at Paradip Anchorage have been asked to pick up anchor and move to sea.
NDMA officials said that pre-emptive measures have already been taken to minimize the loss of lives and property. All agencies have been put on high alerts and they are working in close coordination to undertake rescue and relief operations.
Preparatory meetings with the concerned departments and state governments have been held. All the fishing boats have been brought to the shore.
DG (Shipping) said that they and the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways have set up control rooms, and advisories are being sent four times in a day. Steps are being taken as per the guidelines and SOPs.
Railway authorities said that passenger trains will be cancelled from tomorrow onwards in the areas likely to be worst affected, and freight trains will also be regulated when the wind speed picks up.
Railways has already moved emergency equipment and relief materials to strategic places, and restoration work will be done at the earliest. The movement of Oxygen Express trains from Rourkela will continue through alternative routes.
State government officials spoke about the steps taken by them to reduce the impact of Cyclone Yaas, and their preparedness for undertaking rescue, relief and rehabilitation in their respective areas.
They said measures have been taken to ensure smooth supply of essential goods, particularly for medical supplies.
They have also issued advisories and instructions for the purpose.
Industry representatives said that sharing of timely information gives them enough confidence to cope with the situation. The spirit of collaboration and cooperation among all the stakeholders will help in reducing the impact of such natural disasters.
They also said that steps being taken by various agencies makes them feel that they shall be able to face the situation in an effective manner. They also made several suggestions, which they felt could help in reducing the hardships.
Goyal said that Central and State governments are working hand in hand and undertaking orderly planning to ensure that there is minimal loss to people and property.
He said that with the collective efforts of all stakeholders, the recent super cyclone Taukate was well handled, and expressed the hope that cyclone Yaas is also overcome honourably.
He said that industry participants can play an important role in ensuring this. The Minister said that the Prime Minister yesterday and the Home Minister today had reviewed the preparatory arrangements, and the union Ministers are also engaged with the authorities concerned.
He urged that relief supplies be properly channelised, minimum outages of communication and electricity ensured, mobiles and torches kept fully charged, and DG sets fully stocked up with fuel.
Goyal called for constant monitoring of the situation, supporting the healthcare workers, and also all those in distress.
Pradhan assured that the supply of liquid medical oxygen from eastern India to the rest of the country will not be affected. He said that the Ministry of PNG has made a full assessment of various oil and gas installations, ships, and docks in the area, and learning from recent experience, has taken all precautionary steps to ensure minimal damage.
Mandaviya said that meeting with the industry before cyclone Taukate helped the authorities as well as the industry.
Better awareness, availability of information and coordination helped in minimizing the losses and everyone was better prepared to handle the situation.
He said this helped in taking preemptive steps, and also to take post-cyclone relief, rescue and rehabilitation steps in an effective manner.
In close coordination with the West Bengal government, the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port at Kolkata has initiated steps to avoid loss of human lives, vessels, property etc. in view of the impending cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.
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