At least three lakh people have been evacuated from coastal areas of West Bengal in view of the impending super cyclonic storm 'Amphan' and all steps have been taken to deal with any eventuality arising out of it, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday.
Banerjee said she and senior state government officials are directly monitoring the situation and announced several helpline numbers.
"All precautionary measures are taken to deal with any eventuality arising out of the super cyclone. I had a word with Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding it.
“The worst affected district will be South 24-Parganas. We have already evacuated nearly three lakh people from vulnerable areas and moved them to shelters. This includes two lakh people from South 24-parganas, 50,000 people from North 24-Parganas, 40,000 people from East Midnapore and 10,000 people were evacuated from West Midnapore,” she told a press conference in Kolkata.
The evacuees have been shifted to cyclone shelters and all other precautions are being taken, Banerjee said. Earlier in the day, Shah called up Banerjee to take stock of the situation and assured of all Central help in dealing with the crisis.
"Around 2pm, it will hit our coasts and it will be there till midnight. I would like to request all to stay in house on May 20. No need to venture out unless it is extremely urgent.”
The chief minister said she will talk to the Railways not to run any ‘Shramik Special' trains to bring back migrant labourers to the state from Wednesday till Thursday morning as a precautionary measure.
'Amphan' is expected to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh on May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm after losing some steam as it approaches landfall with a maximum sustained wind speed of 155 to 165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph.
The meteorological department, which has issued an "orange message" for West Bengal, has warned of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.
Banerjee said she feared 'Amphan’ could be more devastating then cyclones ‘Aila’ and ‘Bulbul’ which had claimed more than 300 lives in Bengal and Bangladesh in 2009 and 2019, respectively.
(With inputs from PTI)