The Odisha government began evacuation of people in five coastal districts on Wednesday after cyclone 'Titli', over the Bay of Bengal, intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and started moving towards the coast.
State government asked the collectors of Puri, Ganjam, Khurda, Kendrapara and Jagtsinghpur districts to go for an immediate evacuation of people in the low-laying areas in the coastal belt. The district administration of Ganjam has already started evacuating people in Gopalpur area, said Chief Secretary AP Padhi and added “So far, about 1,000 people have been shifted to safer place.”
In Gopalpur area, 'Titli' is likely to make a landfall at about 5.30 am on Thursday.
The chief secretary said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel have already been positioned in vulnerable districts. "We have not yet sought help of Army. If required we may go for it," Padhi said replying a question.
In the view of the storm, the Indian Railways has ordered to suspend the train services between Khurda Road and Vizianagaram after 10 pm today.
Down trains from Hyderabad/Visakhapatnam side will not be allowed from Duvvada after 06:40 pm and no movement of passenger trains will take place between Khurda Road and Vizianagaram section after 10:00 pm, till further advice, an official notification said.
Trains to Uttar Pradesh from Howrah/Kharagpur side will not be allowed from Bhadrak after 05:15 pm till further notice, it said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also asked the authorities to ensure "zero casualty" and keep the cyclone shelters ready for housing the people during disaster.
Patnaik has also ordered closure of all schools, colleges and anganwadi centres on Thursday and Friday in view of the IMD's forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall across the state. The college students union elections, earlier scheduled to be held on Thursday, have also been cancelled.
#CycloneTitli has been promoted to 'very severe' category by the Met department. People in affected region have been advised to stay indoors. #CycloneTitliAlert #Odisha #AndhraPradesh #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/7cZn9R9pLs— India TV (@indiatvnews) October 10, 2018
The IMD said cyclone Titli moved at a speed of about 15 kmph during last six hours over west-central Bay of Bengal and lay centred at about 280 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha.
The storm is likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam around Thursday morning, it said.
The IMD advised total suspension of fishing operations and shifting of coastal hutment dwellers to safe places. Fishermen along the Odisha coast, and central and north Bay of Bengal were advised not to venture into sea till Friday.
(With PTI inputs)