The Border Security Force (BSF) has moved its three floating border posts or ships and 45 other patrol boats deployed to guard the India-Bangladesh riverine front in the Sunderbans and Icchamati river in West Bengal to safe anchorage in view of the cyclonic storm 'Amphan', officials said.
These vessels are used by the south Bengal frontier of the border force to guard about 350 km of the riverine border in this area.
The BSF protects over 930 km of the International Border under this frontier that includes 110 km of the Sunderbans, Estuary Point, Icchamati river and Panitar, where the land and the riverine borders of the two countries meet.
The three floating border posts or ships, 45 other patrol and mechanised boats have been moved for safe anchorage in the creeks of the Sunderbans in view of cyclone 'Amphan'.
BSF Deputy Inspector General (south Bengal frontier) S S Guleria told PTI that the troops who man these vessels will move to land border posts till the activity of the cyclone.
"Troops have been kept on alert and being shifted to secure and safe locations when cyclone would be striking in the Sunderbans. Till that time, mobile vehicular and foot patrolling in the land areas are being executed," the force said in a statement.
"Manpower would be shifted to earmarked concrete locations to protect them from cyclones," it added.
A team of experts like electricians, plumber, mechanics, masons and engineering personnel have also been sent to the riverine border fronts so that they can help in reviving the damaged infrastructure as soon as possible, Guleria, who has earlier served in the NDRF, said.
He said satellite phones have also been provided to the riverine border posts so that communication links are on, he added.
A control room, headed by a Commandant-rank officer, has been established for the cyclone-related operations at Hasnabad where the water wing of the force is based.
A team of doctors, paramedics, life saving drugs and two ambulances have also been mobilised and placed with the Hasnabad control room, the BSF said.
Two speed boats will also work as water ambulances as road links are expected to be cut off due to uprooting of trees and electric poles, it said.
Some tents and shelter have also been prepared to help the local population incase it is required, the force said.
Another senior BSF officer said the force is coordinating with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local authorities to evacuate locals to safer places and initiate search and rescue operations once the cyclone makes a landfall on May 20, expected to be between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya in Bangladesh.
"The BSF is fully ready to fight the disaster caused by the cyclone," he said.
Cyclone 'Amphan' has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it makes landfall on Wednesday somehwere between the Digha island in West Bengal and Hatiya island of Bangladesh, the government had said.