Tamil Nadu is set to face the fury of Cyclone Gaja. It is lying 370 km south-east of Chennai and 370 km north-east of Nagapattinam and is likely to make landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore on the evening of November 15 with wind speed of 80-90 gusting to 100 kmph.
The Indian Navy is on high alert in view of the approaching cyclone, officials said.
Navy officials said the Eastern Naval Command has assumed a high degree of readiness to render necessary humanitarian assistance as the cyclone is poised to cross the coast of the two states on Thursday evening.
“Two Indian Naval ships — Ranvir and Khanjar — are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid and distress relief,” said a Navy official.
He said these ships will have additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material on board.
The official said helicopters, Dornier aircraft and one P8I aircraft are on standby to undertake reconnaissance, rescue and casualty evacuation.
Tamil Nadu government already declaring that 30,500 rescue personnel were on standby, the district collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram have declared holiday for schools and colleges on Thursday.
Against the backdrop of the Central Water Commission advising constant vigil over dams, Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister RB Udayakumar told reporters that dams, lakes and rivers channels were being monitored continuously.
The CWC had advised action as per the Standard Operating Procedure as heavy rainfall in catchment areas could fill up the dams fast in less than 24 hours.
While reiterating caution to fishermen to not venture into the sea, Udayakumar said a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts have been circulated to the people on cyclone eve.
The red column in the Met bulletins only indicate that steps to mitigate possible disaster should be taken by the government which has already been done and people should not panic, he underlined.