Cyclone Amphan: Home Secretary speaks to Chief Secys of WB, Odisha, assures assistance

New Delhi [India], May 18 (ANI): Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has spoken to Chief Secretaries of West Bengal and Odisha - Rajiva Sinha and Asit Tripathy - in view of arrangements and preparedness against Cyclone Amphan, sources said on Monday.

They said he told West Bengal Government that as per their request, 13 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already been pre-positioned in the state, four teams are en route and four teams are on standby. He also assured that any assistance required from the Central government will be provided immediately.

The Cabinet Secretary also chaired the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) and discussed the preparedness and requirements for the cyclone.

Sufficient number of Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard teams have been put on alert to meet any contingency and provide support to the state government, the sources said.

The Home Secretary also requested the two states to take all preventive actions. This includes timely evacuation of people from the areas likely to be affected, having a 24x7 control room, provision of adequate food items, preparations for timely restoration of essential services i.e. power and telecom as the cyclone is of high intensity.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the response measures against cyclone 'Amphan' developing in the Bay of Bengal and has assured all support from the Central government.

"Reviewed the preparedness regarding the situation due to cyclone 'Amphan.' The response measures, as well as evacuation plans, were discussed. I pray for everyone's safety and assure all possible support from the Central Government," the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

The Prime Minister took full stock of the situation and reviewed the response preparedness as well as the evacuation plan presented by the NDRF.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences has said that super cyclonic storm 'Amphan' over west-central and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal moved nearly northwards with a speed of 7 Kmph during past six hours and lay centred at 2.30 pm over the west-central and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal, about 730 km nearly south of Paradip (Odisha), 890 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 1,010 km south-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).

The Ministry said the storm is very likely to move nearly northwards for some more time and then north-northeastwards across the northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sundarbans during the afternoon or evening of May 20 as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 165-175 Kmph gusting to 185 Kmph. (ANI)