Cyclonic storm moving towards Bangladesh

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Kolkata, Oct 27 (UNI) The deep depression and cyclonic storm ''Rashmi'' formed over West Central Bay of Bengal and adjoining Northwest Bay of Bengal was now moving in a north-northeasterly direction and is likely to cross the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast by this afternoon, Met officials said here today.

''Under the influence of the system, heavy to very heavy rains are likely at few places over the districts of Gangetic West Bengal during the next 24 hours. Gale wind speed reaching 60 to 80 km per hour gusting to 90 km per hour is likely along and off the West Bengal coast during the next 24 hours,'' sources at the Alipore Met department said.

''The sea condition will be rough to very rough along East Central Bay of Bengal. Warnings have also been issued to fishermen not to venture out into the sea,'' the sources added.

Meanwhile, the state administration was taking emergency measures to take control of the situation following the untimely rain that paralysed life in various districts since yesterday.

State Finance Minister Asim Das Gupta told reporters at the Writers' Buildings here yesterday that the district administrations of East Midnapore, West Midnapore, South and North 24 Parganas had been alerted and advised to take all required measures to prevent the situation from worsening further.

Mr Dasgupta, who discussed the situation with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, said control rooms were being set up to monitor the situation in the rain-ravaged places on a war footing.

He informed that relief, including food and medicines, was being stored to send to the rain-affected districts, adding that the state government was ready to face any eventuality.

Mr Dasgupta said the Haldia Port authority has also been instructed to keep a vigil on the weather situation and paramilitary forces were asked to get ready to go to the flood-stricken areas, if required.

The Alipore Met office recorded about 82.6 mm rainfall since the past 24 hours while Dumdum registered 65.1 mm rainfall so far.

The unseasonal showers caused the mercury to dip sharply as the minimum temperature stood at 19.8 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal, while the maximum was 23.6 degrees Celsius, seven degrees below normal.

The Met sources, however, predicted that the weather was likely to improve on October 28, the Diwali day.

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