Srikakulam desperate for rain, but prays raging cyclone spares their lives, property
Visakhapatnam: As the district of Srikakulam the scene of a devastating cyclone in October last year prepares itself for Cyclone Fani, which is expected to make landfall in neighbouring Odisha, people in the district are hoping the region will receive copious amounts of rain, but suffer no loss of life or property. Even as Real Time Governance Society sounded a ‘Red Alert’ on Cyclone Fani (pronounced ‘Foni’), the district administration has made all arrangements to handle the situation in the event of the cyclone lashing the region. Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has written to the Election Commission to lift the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) so that the political leadership can take charge of relief and rescue efforts. The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard too are on stand-by to provide succor to the cyclone-affected. “Srikakulam town has been having a dry spell for the past four months, since Cyclone Phethai passed us in December. We are now praying for rain and large amounts of it,” says Sujatha Dumpala, 54, the owner of a secondary school in Srikakulam. “The rains will give us respite from the scorching heat wave of the past few weeks,” Dumpala said by phone from Srikakulam, which is 100 km from here. “The town has been cloudy since Wednesday morning, with the met department predicting that the villages of Gara and Kalingapatnam on the coast will get heavy rain. Residents of the town are hoping to get a decent volume of rain because of the cyclone,” says Hasan-uz-Zaman, 76, a resident of Srikakulam. “It has been a very hot summer, so far,” he added.
Meanwhile, the slowed or stalled movement of Cyclone Fani in the Bay of Bengal and conducive weather conditions turned it into an extremely severe cyclone on Wednesday. After the otherwise non-significant weather system brewed into a low pressure zone around April 25, it took almost a week for it to reach its peak strength on Wednesday. While it moved at a relatively low speed of 10 kmph on Tuesday, it further decreased to 6 kmph on Wednesday. In fact, the system remained dormant for many days in its trajectory. According to the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre-Tropical Cyclones (RSMC), New Delhi, the estimated maximum sustained wind speed will be 170-180 kmph, gusting to 200 km, during the landfall of the cyclone on May 3 between Gopalpur and Chandbali, around Puri. Its report also mentioned that the sea condition is phenomenal around the system centre. OSRU Bhanu Kumar, a former head of the department of meteorology and oceanography, Andhra University, said that a general cyclone takes about four to five days to reach its maximum strength before landfall. “But in the case of Cyclone Fani, it is almost 11 days since the system first started its journey. The number of cyclones has decreased but the intensity has increased over the years. A warmer ocean means it pumps more moisture into the storm. All these factors have made Cyclone Fani the strongest cyclone in decades,” said Bhanu Kumar.
Speaking to ToI, Cyclone Warning Centre-Visakhapatnam director K Ramachandra Rao said Cyclone Fani lay over the west-central Bay of Bengal and would move northwards during the next six hours and north-northeastwards thereafter and cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali on May 3. “Squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, is very likely to commence along and off north coastal Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. It would become gale-force winds with speed reaching 100 kmph and above from Friday night in Srikakulam and may further intensify till the afternoon of May 3. Heavy rains may lash Srikakulam from Thursday,” said Ramachandra Rao. In the letter to the CEC, Naidu said, “To facilitate free flow of information, mobilization of human and material resources and taking other preventive steps, there is a need to relax the model code of conduct that is in force in the state. Since the Assembly elections have been completed in the state, it is requested that the model code of conduct may be relaxed, so that official machinery and ministers concerned can work effectively to mitigate the effects of the cyclone,” Naidu said.
15 Cops blown up as Maoists Trigger IED on Gadchiroli Road
Nagpur: Fifteen Gadchiroli police personnel and the driver of a private vehicle they were travelling in were blown up when Maoists triggered an IED blast at Lendhri nullah close to the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border on Wednesday afternoon in the worst attack on security forces in the area in 10 years. The quick response team (QRT) personnel from Kurkheda police station, more than 150km from Nagpur, were headed towards Dadapur village near Purada, where the Maoists had torched dozens of vehicles of a Chhattisgarh-based road construction company earlier in the day, when the incident took place. It came as a blow on Maharashtra’s foundation day because the incident seemed planned — sources said the IED may have been placed under the road tarmac months ago — and came days after the extremists ended their “martyrs’ week” on April 28 to mark the killing of 40 cadres, many of them women, by security forces on April 22-23 last year. In fact, they had attacked two parties of C-60 commandos earlier this week at Gondurwahi forest near Koti in Etapalli district, but the commandos managed to rip through the ambush and gunned down senior Maoist woman commander Ramko Narote and another woman extremist. Maharashtra Police chief Subodh Jaiswal, speaking in Mumbai, vowed a “befitting” response to the “cowardly” attack, but seemed to rule out an intelligence failure.
“This is not proper to say it was due to an intelligence failure. It’s a sad incident… We will fight back; we will take on the Naxalites. If more police personnel are needed, we will deploy immediately.” Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao cancelled a reception and cultural programme scheduled for Maharashtra Day at Raj Bhavan. CM Devendra Fadnavis also promised a fightback, tweeting, “The police will not lose their morale, in fact (they’ll) fight this menace with more force.” But state Congress chief Ashok Chavan and NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar called for the CM to step down, saying he, as home minister, had neglected law and order in the Naxalite affected areas of the state. On April 11, the Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency had recorded the highest voting in the state in the LS elections, ignoring a boycott call by Maoists. The arson and subsequent blast on Wednesday are believed to be the handiwork of Maoists of Company 4, Kurkheda-Korchi-Khobramenda and Tippagarh dalams, and other formations under the North Gadchiroli division. After torching the vehicles of the road construction firm, the Maoists seemed to have lain in wait for police. A convoy of three vehicles left Kurkheda for Dadapur, about 40km away, and the first two vehicles, carrying, among others, the sub-divisional police officer, cleared the spot. The third vehicle, a private MUV carrying the cops, was blown up.
Cops release image of man wanted in Rs.12cr Robbery
DO YOU KNOW HIM? The suspect’s image released by police.
Chennai: The Kancheepuram district police have released the image of a man who is suspected to be part of the gang that posed as idol wing personnel and took away jewellery and cash worth Rs.12 crores from a car at Paranur toll plaza on Sunday. Police have announced an unspecified reward for information about the man. A seven-member gang had intercepted a car carrying the jewellery from an exhibition in Madurai on Sunday. The robbers escaped with the jewellery and cash after diverting the attention of five people in the car. Based on a complaint from Dayanidhi, one of the occupants of the car and a manager of a restaurant owned by Kiran Rao (who has been on the idol wing’s radar), Chengalpet police are investigating the case. Police have collected CCTV footage from the toll plaza and a few places near Singaperumal Koil. Dayanidhi told police that the gang asked his car to follow theirs, and a man on a bike trailed the two cars from Paranur to Oragadam. Based on this piece of information, police looked at CCTV footage and zeroed in on the man on the bike. Dayanidhi confirmed the suspect. People can contact 044-27238070 and 044-27237720. They can also reach deputy superintendent of police Kandan on 9840980338, 7010065974, 044-27431424 or inspector Elangovan on 9443349887, 9498100278 or 9080117773.
Security Tightened at City Airport after Bomb Threat
Chennai: Security was beefed up at the city airport after the airport telephone exchange received a bomb threat on Wednesday afternoon. Sources said the call, which turned out to be a hoax, came at 1.17pm. “The caller, who is yet to be identified, informed that there would be a blast at the airport but did not specify when,” said a senior Airports Authority of India official. Airport staff told police that the caller spoke in English and said, “A bomb will go off now,” and disconnected the call. An AAI official said police were informed immediately and comprehensive checks were carried out. “An emergency meeting of all agencies was called as per protocol and steps to be taken were discussed and decided,” he added. Security has been heightened and checks were being done, he added. Airport security was already on a heightened level after intelligence inputs following Easter bombings in Sri Lanka. More CISF personnel have also been roped in for keeping vigil.
Gujarat’s Big Cities to get Cyber Police Stations
Now Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot, too will have a cyber-police station each.
Ahmedabad: The subject of online frauds and ways to address them was the main agenda of the second day of the DGP crime conference attended by four police commissioners of the state. DGP Shivanand Jha, on Wednesday, allocated 105 police officials to form cyber cells in all nine ranges and cyber police stations in all cities of Gujarat. Ahmedabad city was recently allocated a cyber-police station, and now Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot, too will have a cyber-police station each. A senior police official said cyber cells in range headquarters will have one police inspector, one technical police sub inspector and six staff members well acquainted with cyber investigation. “In cities such as Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara, cyber police stations would be set up. Apart from one police inspector and one sub inspector nine other trained staff members will be allotted to each cyber police stations in cities,” said a top police official.
Police sources said the cyber cells and stations in the ranges and in the three cities of Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot will be provided with tools to detect and gather evidence in online fraud cases and incidents related to cybercrime. Top sources said that during first day of the crime conference on Tuesday, DGP Jha had raised the issue of the rising number of crimes in districts like Banaskantha, Junagadh and Bhavnagar. “Clear-cut directions were issued by the DGP to prepare a roadmap or an action plan to bring down the number of crimes across the state in 2019-2020. The DGP had also directed district chiefs and range IGs to try and improve the behavioral pattern of the policemen and connect with people who come to the police station with complaints,” a top police official said.