The Odisha government on Wednesday directed the Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara district administrations to evacuate all those areas where cyclonic storm Titli is expected to pass through after making landfall on Thursday morning. According to other sources, it is also believed that Gajapati, Nayagarh may also be severely affected.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed the collectors of these five districts to ensure ‘zero casualties’ after the Met office said Titli had been upgraded to “severe” category.
Reviewing the already afoot evacuation process starting with Ganjam district, Patnaik said all schools, colleges and Anganwadi centres would be closed on October 11 and 12. Teachers, however, would be on duty.
The students’ union poll across the state scheduled for October 11 has been cancelled, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said.
The holidays of officials have been put on hold given the approaching storm and subsequent heavy rainfall that was expected to be dumped across the state.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said cyclone Titli formed over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and was moving towards the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast.
It was likely to make landfall between Gopalpur in Odisha and Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh early on Thursday at a wind speed of 145 kmph.
It was also very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 18 hours till early Thursday, the India Meteorological Department said.
Several districts, including Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Kandhamal, Boudh and Dhenkanal were expected to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall till Thursday.
The chief secretary said so far, ten teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and eight units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been deployed in various coastal and interior districts.
The state engineering departments have been asked to be ready for restoration work, especially essential services like water supply, road connectivity and electricity supply after the cyclone crosses the Odisha coast.
Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi has asked districts to ensure that 836 numbers of multi-purpose shelters are kept ready to accommodate maximum people.