Representative image (Source: AP)
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, met on Wednesday to review the preparedness for the impending cyclone in the Bay of Bengal region that is likely to affect Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
The top bureaucrat of the country directed various Central and state agencies to ''avoid any loss of life and minimise damage to property, infrastructure and crops''.
''The Cabinet secretary also emphasised that state governments should make all efforts to ensure that fishermen and all vessels at sea are called back immediately and people in areas likely to be affected by the cyclonic storm are evacuated at the earliest,'' a statement by the Union Home Ministry said.
The director general of India Meteorological Department (IMD) briefed the NCMC about the current status of a low-pressure area in the Bay of Bengal, which is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by December 3.
''It is expected to cross the coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha by the morning of December 4 with wind speeds ranging from 90 kmph-100 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall and tidal waves.'' ''The cyclonic storm is likely to affect Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh and coastal districts of Odisha. It is also likely to bring heavy to very heavy rainfall in the coastal areas and Gangetic parts of West Bengal,'' the statement said.
The meeting was informed that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 32 teams in these states with additional teams are being kept in readiness. Rescue teams of the Army and Navy along with ships and aircraft are ready for deployment if required.
Chief secretaries and senior officers from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands apprised the committee about ''the preparatory measures being undertaken to protect the population in the expected path of the cyclonic storm as also measures being taken to ensure that there is minimal damage to infrastructure in the aftermath of the storm.'' Gauba ''assured the state governments that all central agencies are ready and will be available for assistance''.
Officials from the ministries of home, ports, shipping and waterways, power, oil, department of fisheries, telecommunications, the NDRF, IMD, chief of integrated defence staff and the National Disaster Management Authority attended the meeting.