With a “very severe” cyclone threatening coastal Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh, the state government has cancelled Durga puja leave of all employees and asked all departments to be on alert.
In a bulletin, the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Department said a depression over the north Andaman Sea that has moved towards northwest at a speed of 13 km per hour during the past six hours. It has intensified into deep depression and centred at 5.30am over the sea about about 1100 km southeast of Paradip port, about 200 km east of Bhubaneswar.
It would cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha with a sustained wind speed of 175 km to 185 km by Saturday night, triggering heavy rain.
The government cancelled the leave of all government employees in 14 coastal and northern districts, which was affected by the super-cyclone of 1999, and asked them to be prepared for rescue and relief operations.
The districts are Balasore, Bhadrak, Maurbbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Ganjam and Gajapati.
“We have also decided to deploy the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and start a mock drill of ODRAF and fire personnel from Thursday in these districts,” revenue minister SN Patro said.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik also held a video conference with collectors of the districts asked them to arrange sufficient food stuff to meet any eventuality.
Officials said the state government had also asked the central government to provide the service of helicopters and defence personnel, if needed.