Bhubaneswar: With the Met department forecasting a cyclone in Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast by Sunday, the state government Wednesday cancelled puja holidays of its employees in 14 districts and ordered deployment of Disaster Rapid Force in all vulnerable points.
"The state government has cancelled puja holidays of employees in coastal districts in view of possible cyclone," Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro told reporters.
"Besides issuing instructions to other departments to remain alert to the situation, the government has already ordered deployment of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF)," he said.
The minister also directed that a mock drill of ODRAF and fire personnel be held.
The latest bulletin issued by the Met department suggested that a tropical storm brewing over the Andaman sea would gather speed and destructive power when it crossed the Odisha-Andhra coast on Saturday.
"The wind speed of the system during the landfall will be between 175 to 185 km per hour," the bulletin said.
The depression over the North Andaman Sea which moved northwestward with a speed of 13 kmph during the past 6 hours, intensified into a deep depression and lay centred at 5.30 am today over north Andaman Sea, about 1100 km east-southeast of Paradip and 1200 km east-southeast of Visakhapatnam, it said.
The system, it said, would intensify into a cyclonic storm in the next 12 hours. It would move west-northwestwards and cross Andaman islands near Mayabandar by noon today, as a cyclonic storm.
The system would then continue to move west-northwestwards for sometime and then northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip by night of October 12 as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 175-185 kmph, it said.
Meanwhile, the state government has asked fishermen not to venture into the sea as its condition would remain rough till Monday. The district authorities have also been asked to take required steps in villages located by the sea coast.
The 14 coastal districts where maximum alert has been issued are Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Ganjam and Gajapati.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was likely to take stock of the situation arising out of the impending cyclone.