As cyclone Fani is expected to hit Puri in Odisha, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday reviewed the preparedness of the official machinery in northern coastal areas of his state and assured all necessary help to the neighbour.
A red alert has been issued for Srikakulam, bordering Odisha, and Vizianagarm districts in Andhra Pradesh as the extremely severe cyclonic storm moved closer to the eastern coast and is expected to cross the coast off Puri tomorrow.
It lay centred over West Central Bay of Bengal about 430 km south-southwest of Puri and 190 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
Mr Naidu visited the state Secretariat and reviewed the situation with officials. He directed them to be alert for any rescue operations, an official release said.
He spoke to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik over phone and said his government was ready to extend all necessary help to the neighbouring state in this hour of crisis, it said.
"I will be in constant touch with the Odisha CM. If required, we should shift cyclone-affected people from that state to our state. The government machinery should be ready for this," Mr Naidu was quoted as saying in the release.
The Chief Minister said he would personally visit the cyclone-affected areas, if required, to monitor relief operations.
"I have written to the Election Commission seeking relaxation of the model code but they have not yet responded.
"They should respond at least in the time of crisis. I am staying calm to avoid friction between institutions," the Chief Minister said.
He accused the Election Commission of "unduly interfering" in all affairs.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary L V Subrahmanyam reviewed the cyclone situation with the AP Real-Time Governance Centre (RTGC) chief executive officer Babu Ahamed and officials of various departments.
The red alert sounded in Srikakulam district will continue till Friday as gales with a velocity of 140 kmph are expected. The adjoining Vizianagaram district is expected to witness gales with a speed of 90-100 kmph, the release said.
The very heavy to heavy rainfall warning in these two districts also remained, according to the RTGC that is closely tracking Fani's movement.
On the instructions of the Central government, the Andhra Pradesh government was dispatching water sachets and chlorine tablets in large quantities to Odisha to meet emergency requirements, it said.
The railways deputed officers at major railway stations in Vijayawada division to help the stranded passengers in view of the disruption in train movement.
South Central Railway Vijayawada Division manager P Srinivas said in a release that helplines have been opened at all major railway stations to assist the passengers.