Fani hours away from city: All necessary measures in place, assures Mayor
Kolkata: Mayor Firhad Hakim stayed back at the control room of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Friday night to take stock of the effects of cyclonic storm Fani, which is expected to hit the city between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
"We are taking all possible measures to ensure preparedness in the wake of the severe cyclonic storm which is expected to hit the coastal belt of the state between Friday late night and Saturday early morning. We have been able to vacate residents from a number of old and dangerous buildings in the city. We are working with the police to convince all residents of such buildings to shift to relief camps that have been set up in various parts of the city," Hakim told reporters.
It may be mentioned that there are around 1,800 old and dangerous buildings in the city. A senior KMC official said that sufficient relief material and food has been sent to all the boroughs in case of any emergency.
The Member, Mayor-in-Councils will be in charge of supervision of the boroughs. "Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh will look after Borough 1 and 2, while Debasish Kumar, MMiC Parks and Gardens, will be in charge of Borough 7 and 8. Other MMiCs will also similarly supervise different areas," the official added. "Our main aim is to ensure that there isn't loss of a single life," Hakim said.
KMC has already closed all the parks under its jurisdiction until further orders. They have also started removing hoardings and banners from different parts of the city to prevent any damage from their collapse during the cyclonic storm.
The Mayor did not rule out chances of waterlogging in the city but assured that the civic body is making arrangements for quick drainage of water by alerting all pumping stations.
Chief Secretary Malay De had held a high level meeting at Nabanna on Thursday with all concerned departments and senior officials of Navy, Coast Guard, NDRF, State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and Kolkata Police. A control room has already been made functional till May 5. The number of the control room is 1070 (toll free) and 22535185. Ferry services and plying of all boats in the city were suspended from Friday afternoon and is expected to remain so at least till Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, state Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay issued a press statement stating that his department will closely supervise the situation and is ready in terms of disaster preparedness. He urged people to switch off all electrical connections during the cyclone.
"No one should stand near electric poles during the storm and call up the helpline number of the department if there is any damage to such poles," the minister added.
State Backward Classes Welfare minister Rajib Banerjee stopped his election campaign on Friday and was seen engaged in cautioning people about the probable effect of the cyclone. He urged people not to panic, assuring that the state administration is taking all measures in the wake of Fani.