Kolkata, May 25 : In an effort to minimise casualties from severe cyclone 'Yaas', expected to make landfall on Wednesday, the West Bengal government on Tuesday said it has relocated more than 9 lakh people to different cyclone centres, schools, colleges, and other government places in the last 24 hours.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the state government has created a master plan with three lakh people working directly in relief and rescue work during and after the storm.
Addressing a press conference in state Secretariat 'Nabanna', she said: "After coming to power, we have developed 4,000 flood centres. People particularly in the areas of Digha, Sundarbans, Kakdwip, Sagar island and other low-lying areas have been shifted to flood centres and different schools. More than 9 lakh people have been evacuated and the process of shifting is still on. Last year we evacuated 10 lakh people." Banerejee, who has decided to stay in the state Secretariat on Tuesday night to keep a close watch on the developments across the state, said: "We have opened war rooms in every block and they are asked to keep the district administration updated. A force of 3 lakh people has been set up to combat the severe cyclone.
"The force includes 74,000 government officials and employees, and 2 lakh police personnel. Apart from that, teams of the NDRF, SDRF, electricity, and telecom workers have been kept ready for any kind of emergency situation," the Chief Minister added.
The Army has also been kept on standby.
Seeking help from all clubs, puja committees, NGO and other social organisations, the Chief Minister said that all ferry services have been cancelled and many trains have been cancelled.
"The tourism activity has been totally cancelled and there has been an absolute ban on fishing in the sea for the next few days. We have supplied all relief materials to the block and panchayat level and we will be monitoring everything from the state secretariat," she said.
There are 1,000 power restorations and 450 telecom restoration teams who will start working after the storm is over and the state government officials hope to restore power and telecom connectivity as soon as possible. There are also arrangements for 51 disaster management teams.
'Yaas', presently located 270 km away from Odisha's Paradip, and is likely to make a landfall somewhere between Paradip and Sagar Island on Wednesday morning and will move towards Jharkhand. Though most of West Bengal will not face direct effect of the storm, but two districts -- East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas -- will see its impact.