Gujarat braces for cyclone, deploys 10 NDRF teams

Ahmedabad, Jun 1 (PTI) In anticipation of a cyclonic storm making landfall on the Gujarat coast on June 3, the state government on Monday ordered evacuation of people living in low-lying areas and deployed 10 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in over half a dozen districts.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday said the low-pressure area formed over the Arabian Sea has intensified into a depression and it will further intensify into a cyclonic storm in the next 36 hours.

It warned that the cyclonic storm will cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts late in the evening on June 3, bringing in its wake heavy rains.

'The (low-pressure) system is around 900km away from Surat at present. We expect the cyclonic storm to hit the southern Gujarat coast near Daman on June 3 evening with a wind speed of 90 to 100 km per hour.

'It will bring heavy rainfall in the south Gujarat region on June 3 and 4. It may have some impact in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts of the Saurashtra region as well,' said Director of MET Centre here, Jayanta Sarkar.

Ahead of the storm, the weather of Bhavnagar suddenly changed on Monday as strong winds coupled with rain lashed the city in the morning.

Sudden thunderstorm uprooted trees as well as solar panels at some places in the district, said officials.

In view of the cyclonic activity over the Arabian Sea, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday chaired a high-level meet in Gandhinagar to assess the preparedness of the state machinery to tackle all eventualities.

Following the meeting, Rupani said 10 teams of the NDRF have already taken position in five districts of south Gujarat and Bhavnagar and Amreli districts of Saurashtra to deal with any situation arising out of the cyclone.

These five districts of south Gujarat are Surat, Bharuch, Navsari, Valsad and Dang.

'These five districts along with Bhavnagar and Amreli have been put on high alert while other districts have been asked to remain alert.

'While 10 teams of the NDRF have already taken their position, five teams of the SDRF have been put on a stand-by.

I urge people of these areas to remain indoors on June 3 and 4,' Rupani told reporters.

Rupani said while all fishermen of south Gujarat and Saurashtra have been called back from the sea, salt-pan workers of these regions have been shifted to safer locations.

'District collectors have been asked to shift people from low-lying areas to safer places. The collectors have been also asked to make sure electricity supply to COVID-19 hospitals in their respective areas does not get affected.

'A control room has been activated in Gandhinagar to monitor the situation,' the CM said. PTI PJT PD RSY RSY