The NSCBI Airport authority suspended all flight operations at Kolkata Airport for 12 hours beginning from 6 p.m. today due to severe cyclone Bulbul. A senior official of the NSCBI Airport said that flights operation will be discontinued following Union home ministry’s instructions as cyclone Bulbul is expected to make landfall on the West Bengal coast this evening. “Due to very severe cyclone Bulbul, operations at Kolkata airport is being suspend from 6 p.m. on 9 November up to 6 a.m. on 10 November,” a spokesperson of the NSCBI Airport said.
Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, accompanied by winds reaching up to 120 kmph and tidal waves up to one to two metres, is expected on Saturday. “In the wake of present situation, fight operations at Kolkata airport may need to be temporarily suspended. We would review the cyclone situation and take decision regarding flight operations tomorrow,” said the official. It has been learnt that airport authority held multiple meetings with meteorological department officials since yesterday. Several national and international carriers have already announced regarding the cancellation of their flights.
It has been learnt that the meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, was informed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that the cyclone has now intensified and is likely to cross the West Bengal coast by Saturday evening. The NCMC, the country’s apex body to handle any emergency, on Saturday reviewed the preparedness to deal with the very severe cyclone Bulbul over the Bay of Bengal which is likely to affect coastal districts of West Bengal and Odisha. Meanwhile, SER and ER has taken necessary precautionary measures for the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul that includes full functioning of SER headquarters and division all round the clock till the crisis is over; all the departments involved in train operations have been kept on high alert including disaster management team to overcome any eventuality which impairs train movement.
All the stations in Kharagpur- Bhadrak section under Kharagpur division as well as other divisions which fall under the radius of the cyclone have been alerted. If the cyclone situation becomes severe, then train services may be regulated considering the safety of passengers. Patrols are deputed at bridges on rivers prone to flooding and in landslide areas. Medical teams have been positioned on strategic locations. Officers at Apex Level are reviewing the situation at headquarters and divisions and getting in touch with IMD on hourly basis. Normal train movements are being maintained over ER. Medium rain and wind have been reported in Howrah and Sealdah divisions.
Train movements in Lakshmikantapur- Namkhana section of Sealdah division are normal till dusk. Train services in Asansol and Malda Divisions are also normal. Tower wagons are kept prepared at different locations like Baruipur, Lakshmikantapur, Basirhat, Barasat, Barrackpore, Narkeldanga, Ranaghat, Cossimbazar in Sealdah Division and Belur, Barddhaman, Kamarkundu in Howrah division to control the situation in case of exigencies. SER has cancelled local trains due to heavy rain and high wind caused by the cyclone. Panskura-Digha local and Howrah-Panskua-Digha local have been cancelled on 9 November and Panskura- Digha local and Howrah-Panskura- Digha local on 10 November.