Odisha government, on Wednesday, directed officers across 11 coastal districts to evacuate people from low lying areas in view of the “extremely severe” cyclonic storm Fani which is likely to hit near Puri at around 5.30 pm on 3 May.

A total of eight lakh people are to be evacuated and provided shelter at the cyclone shelters, schools and other safe places, said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi.

The evacuation will be completed by Thursday evening, he informed while adding that dry food, gen sets, fuel and all other necessary material have been stocked at the shelters.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the cyclone preparedness with the officials on Wednesday and said, “Every life is precious, so I have directed the administration to ensure 100 per cent evacuation in the vulnerable areas.” He also stressed on early restoration of power, water supply and road connectivity in the affected areas.

Twelve senior IAS officers and 11 IPS officers have been deputed to the coastal districts to monitor evacuation, relief and rescue arrangements etc.

The East Coast Railway has announced the cancellation of 81 trains in the first phase, in view of the approaching cyclonic storm.

The train services between Bhadrak and Vizianagaram have been suspended and inward trains towards Bhubaneswar and Puri will be restricted from the evening of May 2.

Trains from Puri to Howrah, in the night of May 2, and trains from Bangalore, Chennai and Secundrabad to Howrah in the evening of May 2 have been cancelled.

Similarly, all train services between Puri and Bhubaneswar and incoming trains touching Puri and Bhubaneswar on May 3 have been terminated.