Flight operations at Kolkata airport will be stopped from 6:00pm today till 6:00am 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, reports NDTV.
Cyclone Bulbul is forecast to make landfall in West Bengal tonight.
"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.
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.
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.