The Western Railway has taken up various safety and security precautions in areas under its jurisdiction due to the latest weather forecast that the coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch region in Gujarat will be affected by Cyclone Biparjoy.
Several trains have been cancelled and short-terminated as a precautionary measure in view of safety of passengers and train operations. On Monday, approximately 56 trains towards Gandhidham, Veraval, Okha, Porbandar have been short-terminated at Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surendranagar. Further, nearly 95 trains may be cancelled between June 13 and 15.
General Manager of Western Railway Ashok Kumar Misra convened a meeting with the Principal Head of Departments and concerned Divisional Railway Managers were connected through video conferencing, to review the preparations.
Mr. Misra gave detailed instructions with regard to the arrangement of various logistics, train movement including speed restrictions and cancellation of trains as a safety and precautionary measure.
Anil Kumar Lahoti, Chairman and CEO, Railway Board along with the other Board Members also reviewed the preparedness of the situation. A war room has been established at Railway Board level to continuously monitor the situation.
Cyclone Biparjoy is likely to hit Saurashtra and Kutch region of Gujarat, covering Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Ahmedabad Divisions of Western Railway. Veraval - Junagad, Porbandar - Kanalus, Rajkot - Okha and Viramgam – Gandhidham - Bhuj sections are most vulnerable to this cyclone. It is likely to make a landfall at Mandvi-Jakhau port by June 15.
Disaster Management Room has been made operational at WR Headquarters and at Divisional Headquarters at Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Ahmedabad with round the clock availability of operating, engineering, mechanical, electrical, commercial, signalling and telecom officials and Railway Police Force.
“Detailed instructions have been issued to all the departments to start rescue operations immediately if needed. The concerned Divisions have been put on alert to tackle the situation with arrangements for tree cutting equipment, DG sets, diesel driven pumps, earth moving equipment, Poclain hydraulic motor, JCBs, utility vehicles, adequate fuel resources and so on have been kept in readiness for any assistance as and when needed,” a spokesperson said.
These authorities have also been instructed to maintain constant communication with respective field officials to ensure necessary and immediate action. Protection sheets covering platforms and Foot Over Bridges has been done. The relief trains have been equipped with adequate medicines and are kept on alert.
Wind speed is being monitored at five locations in Bhavnagar Division, at eight locations in Rajkot and at three locations in Ahmedabad Division on hourly basis and Station Masters have been instructed to regulate or stop trains when the wind velocity exceeds 50 kms per hour.
In case of any infringement to train operations such as uprooted trees, OHE mast leaning, falling, immediate action is to be taken for stopping the train or switching off the traction power and informing the control. The communication system is also being strengthened with adequate facilities like wireless communication, 15 VHF sets, satellite phones and so on.
Necessary arrangements are also being made to ensure availability of rolling stock, locomotives, manpower for the rescue and relief operations.
All loading and unloading activities have been suspended at Kandla Port, Navlakhi Port (Rajkot Division), Pipavav Port (Bhavnagar Division) & Bedi Port (Rajkot Division).