Mamata Banerjee cancels all political programmes as cyclone Fani hits Odisha
Seven parliamentary constituencies — Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Hooghly, Serampore and Arambag — in the state are set to go to the polls on Monday.Updated: May 03, 2019, 13:24 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday cancelled all her political programmes scheduled for the next 48 hours to monitor and coordinate relief work during cyclone Fani as it made landfall in Odisha.
Seven parliamentary constituencies — Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Hooghly, Serampore and Arambag — in the state are set to go to the polls on Monday. All these constituencies are in the area where Cyclone Fani will have its direct impact as it travels from Odisha to Bengal.
The cyclone was supposed to impact places in and around Kolkata from Friday evening, said met officials.
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In Midnapore town, about 22km away from Kharagpur, as well as Contai in East Midnapore district, a number of trees were uprooted in the morning as strong winds hit the area.
On Friday, Mamata Banerjee parked herself in Kharagpur in West Midnapore district from where she is monitoring the situation. Mamata Banerjee was supposed to address a public rally in West Midnapore district during the day.
“We have cancelled all poll-related programmes to focus on disaster management and relief coordination,” said Mamata Banerjee. “Get out of your homes only if necessary,” the chief minister told the people.
The chief minister also urged them to exercise caution not panic.
“Disaster management teams are working round the clock. The situation is supposed to worsen between Friday evening and Saturday evening,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee said she has asked Kolkata mayor and urban development minister Firhad Hakim to keep a watch on the situation and coordinate preparations and relief efforts.
On Thursday, Hakim directed advertisers to taken down hoardings in the city so that passersby are not hurt if they come crashing down due to the impact of strong winds. The mayor also said that they would be shifting residents of dilapidated houses in Kolkata to school buildings nearby.
Airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya said Kolkata airport will be closed between 3pm on Friday and 8am on Saturday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary of the Bengal unit Sayantan Basu said a formal decision was yet to be taken on cancellation of their programmes on Friday.