Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar | Jagran News Desk: Severe cyclonic storm Asani, which has formed over the Bay of Bengal, will intensify further and continue to move northwestwards till the night of May 10, inching closer to the coast of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday morning.

Due to Asani, which is currently hovering over southeast and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal, heavy rains are expected in several districts of Odisha, including Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur, Ganjam, Khurda, Cuttack and Puri. Besides, moderate to heavy rainfalls are expected over isolated areas of north Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

Although the weather department has said Asani will unlikely make a landfall and will continue to move "parallel to the Odisha coast", a yellow alert has been issued for three districts - Gajpati, Ganjam, and Puri. Fishermen have also been advised not to venture into the sea and return to the coast by May 10.

Odisha, which is expected to witness the most of the damage, has said it has taken all necessary steps to deal with the situation. State officials have said that teams of NDRF and SDRF are on standby for any eventuality.

"We do not see any big danger in the state as the system will pass around 100 kilometer off the coast near Puri," news agency PTI quoted Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena as saying.

Similarly, West Bengal has also started preparing for Asani. The Mamata Banerjee government has issued an alert for several districts, including Kolkata, asking the officials to prepare for any eventuality.

Taking lessons from the devastating effects of Amphan super cyclone in May 2020, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is taking all measures such as keeping cranes, electric saws and earthmovers on standby to clear blockades caused by fallen trees and other debris.

The administrations of Purba Medinipur, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas are keeping cyclone shelters, schools and other pucca structures ready if evacuation is needed, besides arranging dry food and necessary medicines, a state government official said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma