With the Cyclone 'Vayu' expected to touch the Gujarat coast on Wednesday morning, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday reviewed the preparedness of the state and central governments to deal with any eventuality, even as weather experts predicted heavy rainfall and possible flooding of low-lying coastal areas.
Officials have been directed by Shah to safely evacuate people from danger-prone areas and ensure the maintenance of essential services like power, telecommunications, health and drinking water.
Officials have also been asked to ensure that in case of disruption, these services are restored at the earliest.
Shah's review meeting, which was attended by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Earth Sciences Secretary, Dr M Rajeevan and senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, came as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted that the cyclone is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat.
The storm surge is expected to be 1 -1.5 metres above the highest tidal level. According to the IMD, the cyclone is expected to touch the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and Diu regions.
Wind speeds of 110-120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph are expected during the early morning of June 13.
Heavy rains are likely to inundate low-lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall.
Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha also convened the meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review the preparedness of the state and central agencies.
At least 46 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are being deployed in Gujarat and Daman and Diu. The Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby. Aerial surveillance is being carried out by aircraft and helicopters.
Thirty-four NDRF teams have been already deployed in Morbi, Rajkot, Dwarka, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Junagarh, Jamnagar, Gandhi Nagar, Kutch, Vadodara and Ahmedabad districts in Gujarat while two teams are in Diu.
Six teams from the NDRF base Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) and four teams from Pune (Maharashtra) are being airlifted and will be deployed soon. NDRF battalions stationed in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are also kept on standby and directed to keep a close watch over the situation.