Cyclone Fani: India on high alert

India’s National Disaster Response Force and the Coast Guard were on Tuesday put on high alert as the cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ which continued to gather strength over southeast Bay of Bengal and its neighbourhood hurtled towards the south eastern Indian coastline and threatened to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm. The storm is very likely to move north westwards till May 1 evening and thereafter recurve north-north eastwards gradually, the Indian Met department said in its latest update.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone’s landfall over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states is ruled out but there is a possibility of landfall in Odisha estate. Prime Minister Modi himself is closely monitoring the situation and has directed the Cabinet Secretary to convene the Meeting of National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to take stock of the situation with the concerned state governments and federal ministries and agencies and ensure that all preparations to deal with any situation are in place.

NDRF and Indian Coast Guard have been put on high alert and placed at the disposal of state government authorities. Gale wind speed reaching 80-90 km per hour gusting to 100 kmph is prevailing over Southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood and it is very likely to increase gradually to 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph over Southwest Bay of Bengal from Tuesday morning and 160-170 kmph gusting to 185 kmph off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh Coasts from May 1 evening.

The Met department said the sea condition is very rough over Southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood and it is likely to become phenomenal off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts from Tuesday morning and off Andhra Pradesh coast during May 1-3. It asked the fishermen not to venture into deep sea areas of Southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining equatorial Indian Ocean, till May 1-3. Those who are out in deep sea above areas have been advised to return to the coasts.

Meanwhile, on being directed by the PM, the National Crisis Management Committee met in New Delhi on Monday under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary and took stock of the situation arising out of ‘Fani’. Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal attended through Video Conference. Senior Officers from the Indian government concerned also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, officers of all the concerned state governments confirmed their full preparedness to deal with any emerging situation arising out of the cyclonic storm. There is a seasonal ban on fishing in sea June 14 due to the breeding season and the state governments were advised to effectively enforce this ban.