Flight operations at Kolkata airport have been stopped from 6 pm today till 6 am tomorrow, or for 12 hours, over safety concerns due to Cyclone Bulbul, Home Ministry officials have said. The move is likely to affect the travel plans of hundreds of air passengers at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
Cyclone Bulbul made landfall at 9 pm in West Bengal.
"Cyclone Bulbul is about to pass through Bengal. Our State Administration is closely monitoring the situation 24x7. We are taking all measures to tackle any contingency. Special Control Rooms have been set up and NDRF-SDRF teams are deployed," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
Private carrier SpiceJet tweeted it will offer full refund and waive cancellation or "change fee" for all flight to and from Kolkata till Sunday. IndiGo also said it will waive cancellation and rescheduling fee for flights to and from Kolkata on both Saturday and Sunday.
Kolkata airport tweeted:
Due to impact of #CycloneBulbul with strong cross winds & likely wind shear in approaches, flight operations at #KolkataAirport will be discontinued from 1800 IST today upto 0600 IST on 10.11.2019. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.@AAI_Official@MoCA_GoI— Kolkata Airport (@aaikolairport) November 9, 2019
The Bengal government has asked educational institutes to remain closed. "Schools, colleges and anganwadi centres have been closed and more than 1 lac 20 thousand people have already been rescued from the vulnerable coastal areas," Ms Banerjee tweeted.
"Please do not panic. Kindly remain calm and co-operate with the administration in its rescue and relief efforts. Be alert, take care and stay safe," she said.
Please do not panic. Kindly remain calm and co-operate with the administration in its rescue and relief efforts. Be alert, take care and stay safe. #WBFightsCycloneBulbul (3/3)— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) November 9, 2019
Cyclone Bulbul is likely to carry a maximum wind speed of up to 135 kmph along West and East Midnapore, and South and North 24 Parganas, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its weather bulletin.
"Squally wind speed 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph is likely to continue for next six hours along and off Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, and gale wind speed 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph for next six hours along Bhadrak and Balasore districts of Odisha," the IMD said.
The wind speed is likely to pick up and reach 120 kmph before reaching its maximum 135 kmph, enough to make venturing out to the sea or flying dangerous.
Low-lying areas are likely to be flooded, the IMD said, adding areas around South and North 24 Parganas are particularly vulnerable. "The maximum extent of inundation is likely to be around 2 km over South and North 24 Parganas," the weather office said.