With a severe cyclone threat looming large on Orissa’s coast, the Naveen Patnaik government on Wednesday, cancelled puja holidays of all its employees in 14 districts and ordered the deployment of the Disaster Rapid Action Force in all vulnerable areas. The cyclone is expected to hit the state on Saturday.
In another measure, the government decided to evacuate more than one lakh people from the coastal areas of Ganjam district on Thursday. Officials said the district lies in the path of the cyclone and people from the coastal areas will be moved to safer places.
“The state has cancelled puja holidays of employees in coastal districts in view of the possible cyclone,” Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro said. “Besides issuing instructions to other departments to remain alert, the government has ordered the deployment of Orissa’s Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF),” he said.
The minister also directed that a mock drill of ODRAF and fire personnel be held. The state government has asked fishermen to not venture into the sea as its condition will be rough till Monday, while district authorities have also been asked to take required steps in villages located by the sea coast.
Meteorological Department officials had warned that a deep depression in the Northern part of the Andaman sea was moving towards the coastal regions of north Andhra Pradesh and Orissa between Kalingapatnam and Paradip by October 12. Heavy rainfall accompanied by winds with a maximum speed of 175-185 kmph are expected.
Apart from Ganjam, other coastal districts where maximum alert has been issued are Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh and Gajapati.