BHUBANESWAR, May 2: A massive evacuation process was underway ahead of the landfall of cyclonic storm 'Fani' in Odisha coast, even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday appealed people not to panic over the cyclone.
About eight lakh people would be evacuated from low-lying coastal areas to safer places in the state. 'Fani' is likely to hit the state's coast in Puri district on Friday evening.
Holding a review meeting here, Patnaik said the government is ready to tackle the situation as every life is precious.
He instructed the District Collectors of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Ganjam, Gajapati and Cuttack to expedite evacuation in low-lying areas.
The Chief Minister also held a meeting with top executives of various telecom operators in the state and asked them for early restoration of telecommunication after the cyclone makes landfall.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said arrangements have been made to start free kitchens to provide cooked food to the evacuated people.
Over one lakh dry food packets have been kept ready for air dropping in the areas to be affected by the storm. About 879 multi-purpose cyclone/flood shelters are kept in readiness for sheltering people to be evacuated.
The East Coast Railway has decided to run three special trains from Puri to Shalimar and Howrah in West Bengal on Thursday for tourists.
Notably, the Railways has cancelled 103 trains in view of the cyclonic storm, which is likely to hit Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali.
Cyclone 'Fani', which has turned into an "extreme severe cyclonic" storm, is located around 225 kms south-southeast of Visakhapatnam and around 430 kms south-southwest of Puri, said the India Meteorological Department. � IANS