Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with senior officials of Central government as well as Gujarat government to review the preparedness to minimise loss from ensuing Cyclone Biporjoy. The cyclone, which has been described as “very severe cyclonic storm” is likely to cross Gujarat coast tomorrow.
Speaking on the occasion, the Shri Sonowal said, “We must be prepared for all kind of eventualities as this is one of the most critical natural disasters to affect India in the recent times. We are taking steps to minimise material losses and ensuring all steps to ensure safety of the people. Our people residing in the coastal areas are being evacuated to safety and measures have been taken to create rest shelters for affected people post the cyclone. All necessary steps have been taken to provide all kind of emergency care, medical care as well as nutritional care for the needy including women and children in these rest shelters. We have also reviewed our preparedness to ensure safety of large ships in the affected areas. We are constantly monitoring the process as the team on ground remain highly alert to take necessary steps for all kind of support to ensure public safety and minimise material losses.”
Among the officials, the meeting was attended by Kandla Port Authority, Director General of Shipping, Mercantile Marine Department, senior officials led by Chief Secretary of Gujarat State administration, Chairman of Deen Dayal Port Authority along with their disaster management team, Gujarat Maritime Department along with the disaster management teams set up by the Gujarat government.
It is to be noted that the Kandla Port authority has set up three control rooms, equipped with modern communications tools, at Gandhidham which are working round the clock since 11th June. A public awareness campaign is also going on and necessary advisories have been issued to all associations, authorities. Around 3,000 people, living in the Port area and other low lying areas around it, have already been evacuated and shifted to relief shelters. The rest shelters, with a capacity to accommodate 5000 to 6000 persons, have been set up at Gopalpuri colony. All necessary items like drinking water, food packets, medical support etc. are being organised and kept at this shelter. Doctors from the port hospital have been deputed to treat those who need care.
For ensuring minimum losses to material properties, inward movement of vessels as well as all anchored vessels have already sailed out of Gulf of Kachchh. Evacuation of the remaining vessels from the berths have also been completed. All moving cranes have been secured after evacuation of vessels at berth. High Masts Lighting Towers have been lowered down in alternate manner. Steel Floating Dry Dock has been secured and operations inside have been suspended. All Port Crafts and other crafts at Kandla and Vadinar harbour have been secured/kept in standby with short notice.
During the review meeting, the Union Minister was also appraised by DG Shipping and CEO of Gujarat Maritime Board that all necessary steps as per SOP have been taken to ensure that no loss of life or property occurs onboard any vessel in the area of impact. The team is closely monitoring the evolution of cyclone ‘Biparjoy’ at Signal Station, Kandla and Vadinar. Medical Teams and Ambulances are kept ready with high alert at Kandla to attend any emergency situation. Fire Brigade Division of DPA has been kept on high alert to avoid any causalities and extend necessary support to District Administration in rescue and relief work as may be required. Arrangement of power backup at different places as well as in the back up area of the Port had been made for use in case of power failure. The drainage system has been surveyed and cleared from any blockage for free flow of storm water.
Shri Sonowal also interacted & reviewed steps taken by the with the officials of Mercantile Marine Department at Kandla and Jamnagar to mitigate losses in the wake of Cyclone Biporjoy. Sonowal also enquired about the safety and security of the fishing harbours and ensured that all fishermen and those residing in the area of impact are evacuated to safety. The Minister requested all agencies to coordinate & communicate constantly for total protection of life and property till the cyclone passes over. Union Port, Shipping and Waterways Ministry continues to closely monitor the cyclone situation and is taking all necessary measures to be prepared for any kind of emergencies.