Cyclone Fani: Assam arranges trains for pilgrims in Odisha


GUWAHATI | May 2, 2019 (IANS):

The Assam government has made special train arrangements to bring back pilgrims from the state who got stranded in Puri in Odisha due to cyclonic storm 'Fani'.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said special arrangements are in place to evacuate stranded passengers from Assam and also urged them to leave Odisha on their own before Friday, when the storm is due to make a landfall.

"The government has provided a special train to Howra. It is important that all come out of Odisha before May 3 for their own safety and security," Sarma said.

Eastern Railway is running three special trains from Puri to Kolkata on Thursday to evacuate the stranded passengers. While one train reached Puri at 12 noon, the other two trains are scheduled to leave Puri at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

According to the Meteorology department, 'Fani' is likely to hit the costal areas of Odisha on Friday evening with a speed of 180 to 200 kms per hour.

Over 40 pilgrims from Assam had gone to Odisha but the authorities of the lodge they were staying in asked them to evacuate the place due to storm warnings.

"Our return tickets are on May 4. However, the lodge officials are asking to vacate the building today itself. Where will we go now… Most of us don't even have enough money to make fresh reservations," a stranded pilgrim said.

The Odisha government has also issued instructions to the people to move to safer place.