Army alerted as cyclone 'SIDR' approaches WB-Bangla coasts

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Kolkata, Nov 15 (UNI) The army has been alerted as a super cyclonic storm, 'SIDR', is fast approaching the West Bengal, Bangladesh coast threatening to hit near the Sagar islands late tonight at a speed of 200 km per hour.

''A super cyclone with a speed between 200-250 kmph is likely to hit near the Sagar islands. Three districts--North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore--have been alerted and all precautionary measures are being taken,'' Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said.

Home Secretary P R Ray said the army had been asked to be prepared to swing into rescue operation in any such eventuality.

''The cyclone, which lay centred north of Andaman islands, has changed direction and is now heading towards coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh,'' he said.

Alipore Regional Meteorological Centre office Director G C Debnath said the state administration had been asked to shift the people in the coastal areas to safer places while fishermen had been advised not to venture into the sea.

''Thundershowers and heavy rainfall are expected at several places over the coastal districts of Bengal today. If the cyclone does not weaken or change direction, things may get worse tomorrow,'' Met officials said.

EDS:Here pick up suitably from CA14 WEATHER-CYCLONE-WARNING.

UNI

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