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'Fani' heading towards West Bengal, rain lashes city

Normal life in and around Kolkata was thrown out of gear on Friday as cyclonic storm 'Fani' made landfall in neighbouring Odisha.

Squally winds and rains hit Kolkata leading to waterlogging and traffic congestion.

'Fani' is likely to reach West Bengal by Friday evening.

Coastal areas of the state also experienced heavy rains along with strong winds.

"The eye of the storm is likely to be weakened when it enters West Bengal. The wind speed will be around 100 kmph to 110 kmph," an official of the meteorological department said.

Moderate to heavy rains lashed various parts of the city, causing heavy traffic congestion in north and south Kolkata.

Traffic had to be diverted in those parts, police said.

In view of the storm heading towards West Bengal, many political parties have cancelled their election programmes for the next 24 hours.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has cancelled all her political meetings for the next 48 hours. I

A red alert has been issued in coastal areas and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea.

The state government has taken precautionary measures for districts like East and West Midnapore, both North and South 24 Parganas besides, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram and Kolkata and Sundarbans to avert any untoward incident.

Several trains from the city have been cancelled while the city airport has decided to remain shut from 3 PM Friday till 8 AM Saturday.

Kolkata Police has opened a control room at its headquarters to monitor the situation in the city.

All government and government-aided schools have suspended classes from Friday and the Health Department has cancelled leave of doctors and the staff till May 6.