As Cyclone Nears, Odisha Puts 16 Districts On Alert

Bhubaneswar, Oct 8: The Odisha government on Tuesday put 16 districts on high alert after India Meteorological Department (IMD) cautioned the administration about a possible cyclonic storm. The government, however, appealed to people not to panic.

"The state government is constantly monitoring the situation in close coordination with IMD and will take all required steps to meet the contingency. The citizens are advised to remain watchful about the situation but there is no reason for panic," a spokesman of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who returned from New Delhi, said the "government is prepared for the possible cyclonic storm."

As per the latest information received from IMD, Monday's low pressure area over Tenasserim Coast and adjoining Andaman Sea has concentrated into a depression that lay centred at 0830 hours IST today over North Andaman Sea and neighbourhood about 1380 km southeast of Odisha's Gopalpur.

It would move in a west-northwesterly direction and intensify into deep depression within 24 hours and further intensify into a cyclonic storm thereafter, the IMD bulletin said.

The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), Fire Services and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stationed in Odisha have also been kept on alert for their eventual deployment on short notice for evacuation.

When the IMD was yet to indicate on the probable wind speed and landfall area of the system, state government said it had already made about 500 cyclone shelters ready. "We may go for evacuation of people after knowing the place of landfall of the system," a senior official at the revenue and disaster management department said.

"We are not in a position now to say where the system will make landfall and what will be the wind speed. The IMD may give some information in this regard tomorrow after the system crosses Long Island in Andaman," Director IMD, Bhubaneswar, Sarat Sahu said.

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