Planes, trains cancelled, highway traffic stalled
Bhubaneswar: Impending cyclone Phailin led to the cancellation of flights and trains from the Odisha state capital and traffic on the highways came to a halt.
At least 10 flights of Air India, Indigo and Jet Airways scheduled to arrive or take off from the airport here remained cancelled, director of Biju Patnaik International Airport Sarad Kumar said.
"We have kept the power system on standby and will be able to start flights operation within half an hour notice ", Kumar said.
All the Air India flights were operational from the airport till about 1600 hrs, Kumar said.
Sources said private airlines, however, cancelled some flights due to bad weather.
Similarly, East Coast Railways (ECoR) had cancelled all trains between Howrah and Visakhapatnam for the day and after reviewing the situation it also decided to cancel all Mail/Express and passenger trains as well as Special Trains tomorrow, ECoR sources said.
"This has been done keeping in mind the safety of the passengers as we did not want to leave anything to chance due to the Meteorological Department`s report of a very severe cyclonic storm," the sources said.
The Crisis Management Group (CGM) of ECoR was regularly taking stock of the situation and the Railway Emergency Teams stationed in advance with adequate men and materials at 25 stations, likely to be affected the most.
In case of any damage to Railway tracks, signalling, and overhead wires, repair work could be done at the spot by the Emergency Team itself, they said.
In addition, Relief Trains and Diesel Engines were been kept as stand-by to meet any eventuality.
About, 700 stranded passengers at Puri have also been accommodated at Railway Kalyan Mandap near Puri Railway Station, they said.
Meanwhile, road communication to and from Bhubaneswar remained severely affected as vehicles remained off the road ahead of the landfall.
Traffic on the national highway No.5 which connects Chennai with Howrah, National highway No. 2003 between Puri-Bhubaneswar and state highways connecting Berhampur in South Odisha to other places came to a grinding half in anticipation of being battered by the cyclone.
Even roads in towns and the capital city wore deserted look as the people preferred staying indoors.
All shops and business establishments downed their shutters while hotels, restaurants and road side eateries remained closed.
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