Vayu Cyclone to Hit nearly 408 Villages, 60 Lakhs People
Rajkot: As severe cyclonic storm Vayu rages towards Gujarat, administrations of 11 coastal districts were working overtime to minimize its impact. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel told reporters that 408 villages across 31 talukas of 10 districts in Saurashtra and 60 lakhs are likely to be affected by the cyclone. The storm is expected to slam the coast near Veraval and Diu between 6am and 7am on Thursday. District administrations of Porbandar, Gir-Somnath, Amreli, Jamnagar, Kutch and Devbhumi Dwarka are taking all the precautionary measures as winds speeding up to 112 km are expected to roar after the landfall. The Porbandar district, which is likely to be affected the most, has identified nearly 35,000 people who may have to be evacuated by Wednesday. District collector M A Pandya said “We have created 230 shelter homes with all facilities for these people”.
Entry at the famous Chowpatty beach has been banned till the situation becomes normal. Also, seven earth movers, 12 loaders and tree cutting equipment have been readied as the winds could uproot trees. Amreli district’s two talukas – Rajula and Jafrabad – are also bracing up for a possible damaging impact. Amreli collector Aayush Oak said, “We will require to evacuate 19,000 people and they have all been informed. If they don’t move out voluntarily by 11am today, we will have to forcibly shift them. Shelter houses have been set up at 37 locations with all facilities like food, drinking water and medicine”. As many as 60 state transport buses and 30 private buses have been kept on a stand-by for rescue and relief work, Oak added. Gir-Somnath administration has also asked people in 51 villages to shift to safer locations. In Rajkot, the municipal corporation has brought down 22 hoardings which may blow away due to strong winds. Two control rooms have been activated in the city and fire brigade has been alerted.
Two Shops Gutted in Karunagapally Blaze
Fire and rescue personnel try to contain the fire that broke out in Karunagapally town in the early hours of Tuesday.
Kollam: A super market and another shop were completely gutted in a major fire that broke out in Karunagapally town in the early hours of Tuesday. The fire broke out by 2.15am and Kottakkuzhy margin-free supermarket near the post office and the smart super shop nearby were completely gutted. Primary investigation points to electrical short circuit as the cause of fire. Karunagapally police said they were exploring the scope of other reasons, including sabotage. Report of the forensic wing of police and electrical inspectorate are awaited. Fifteen fire tenders from Chamakkada, Kadappakkada, Karunagapally, Kundara, Sasthancotta, Chavara Kayamkulam and Mavelikara fire stations were rushed to the spot to put out the fire. The blaze was contained after an eight-hour long effort. The Kottakkuzhy margin free supermarket owned by Abdul Salim of Kottakkuzhy, Adinadu, Kulasekharapuram has been functioning here for over 25 years. Goods worth crores of rupees have been gutted in the fire. The smart super shop, a partnership firm under Choice group started by five youths from Karunagapally, also incurred heavy loss amounting to lakhs of rupees. As the fire caught up on the backside of the shops first, only later that it came to the notice of the people. It was the police team patrolling the area who noticed the fire on the ground floor of the supermarket.
Though the patrolling team tried to contact the fire and rescue station, Karunagapally, they were not available over phone. Then, assistant sub-inspector Prasannan went to the fire station to inform them about the accident. The fire force team, which reached the spot by 2.30am, took necessary measures to check the fire from spreading to nearby shops. Police personnel from Karunagapllay sub-division led by ACP Arunraj and residents provided necessary support to the fire force personnel. As the smoke and fire caused severe suffocation to the patients admitted to the nearby AM Hospital, 21 patients were shifted to the Taluk Hospital and other private hospitals. Fire force personnel led by Karunagapally fire station officer K M Shaji and assistant station officer Zakharia Ahamed could contain the fire only by 11am. The smoke billowed from the shops hovered over the town for some time, causing traffic disruption on the national highway. As there was no access to the rear side of the shop, the fire force could not reach there. Choice group partner Shamir told reporters that they had stocked school bags and students’ accessories worth Rs 10 lakh inside the shop in view of the school reopening season.