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Airports, Railways cancel services as Cyclone Vayu moves to Gujarat

Cyclone Vayu, after intensifying into a "very severe cyclonic storm" on Wednesday, continues to progress towards Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat

cyclone vayu
Satellite imagery showing cloud band on the West Coast due to Cyclone Vayu. Image source: Skymet

Five airports will suspend flights from Wednesday midnight and around 40 trains will either be cancelled or cut short in Gujarat, as authorities in the western state brace for Cyclone 'Vayu'.

Flights  will suspended in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla airports for 24 hours from midnight, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said.

"Equipment and heavy machinery have been moved to safety at respective airports and the Airport Directors of AAI's Bhuj and Jamnagar airports have been asked to write to the Indian Air Force to suspend operations of civil flights from these two airports also," the AAI said in a statement.

The AAI owns and manages around 100 airports across the country.

The AAI said that "a decision in respect of suspending operations at AAI's Surat Airport will be taken after analysing the weather".

"Keeping safety in mind and in order to minimise damage to the airport infrastructure and to avoid inconvenience to any of stakeholders including passengers, the AAI has decided to suspend flight operations at AAI airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla from 12 midnight IST today (12/06/2019) to 12 midnight IST tomorrow (13/06/2019)," the AAI added.

The Regional Executive Director (Western Region), the AAI and all Airport Directors in Gujarat have been advised to be in readiness to handle any exigency occurring out of this natural calamity and to issue appropriate NOTAM (notice to airmen) action, the AAI said.

Western Railway cancels 40 trains to coastal Gujarat

The Western Railway has decided to cut short or cancel some of its trains passing through areas of Gujarat that are likely to be affected by cyclone 'Vayu'.

All WR passenger and mail trains to Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham stations will be short-terminated or cancelled from 6 pm on Wednesday till Friday morning, said WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar.

The WR has decided to cancel operation of 40 mainline trains while 28 similar trains will be short-terminated with partial cancellation as a precautionary measure.

The WR has also planned to run a special train each from Gandhidham, Bhavnagar Para, Porbandar, Veraval and Okha to evacuate people from those areas.

Special trains with six to 10 coaches each will also be kept ready at the nearest safe location to be moved in emergency conditions, the WR said.

The coaches currently available at depots and station yards located in coastal areas were being shifted to safer places, it said.

"Arrangements have been made for round-the-clock manning of the railway emergency control offices," it said.

All rail authorities concerned have been instructed to keep adequate manpower, and machinery like JCBs, tree-cutters, water tanks, tractors and generators on standby for any assistance required, the WR said.