The flight operations from Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar were cancelled for next 24 hours in the wake of cyclone Fani, which is likely to make a landfall off Odisha coast on Friday. The ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm is also expected to hit other states on the eastern coast.
At least 19 districts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are likely to be affected by the “extremely severe” cyclonic storm” Fani. The storm is about 420 km from the Odisha coast, the India Meteorological Department said in a release. It is likely to make landfall between 10am to 12pm tomorrow. The state government has started the evacuation process and plans to shift 8 lakh people by evening today
It said the Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm FANI (pronounced as ‘FONI’) over Westcentral Bay of Bengal moved north-northeastwards with a speed of about 15 kmph in last six hours. It is likely to make landfall at Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, on May 3 with wind speed of up to 200 km per hour.coast, such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said all authorities concerned have been alerted to remain ready to deal with the situation. Adding, he informed that all the airlines have been requested to offer assistance in rescue and relief operations. “Alerted all concerned to be ready to deal with Cyclone Fani. Airports Authority of India issued alert to all coastal airports to ensure all precautions, SOPs (standard operating procedures) put in place immediately,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, the Union minister said, “All airlines are requested to offer all assistance for rescue and relief operations in view of cyclone Fani. All relief material should be airlifted to be delivered to officially designated agencies.” Various airlines have already announced the change in the flights schedule in the wake of the oncoming cyclone. IndiGo issued a travel advisory on Twitter, saying, “Due to Cyclone Fani, flights to and from Visakhapatnam have been cancelled for today.”.
Fani lays centred over westcentral Bay of Bengal, about 430 km south-southwest of Puri in Odisha, 225 km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and 650 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, according to the latest bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). In view of severe cyclone Fani, the Indian Railways has decided to cancel or diverted route, the following southern coastal area bound trains passing through Eastern Railway system.
Over 4,000 specialised personnel as part of 81 NDRF teams have been deployed to deal with the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone ‘Fani’ which is likely to affect Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal upon its landfall tomorrow.