‘Rs 17,000 Cr Due to Us From Centre’: Mamata Slams Govt Over Funds
Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ wreaked havoc in West Bengal and Odisha, causing extensive damage to life and property.
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday, 14 November, hit out at the Centre over lack of relief extended to cyclone ‘Bulbul’-hit areas of the state.
“Around Rs 17,000 crore is due to us from the Centre. If they had given us that due amount, we could have used that to carry out relief works,” Banerjee said.
The West Bengal CM also asked people to refrain from playing politics in relief distribution.
"It was a big cyclone. Instead of standing by the affected people, some are playing politics and indulging in vandalism. I would urge them to refrain from it. This is not the time to do politics," she said.
Banerjee, after conducting an aerial survey of cyclone ‘Bulbul’-hit areas in North 24 Parganas, said on Wednesday, that the loss incurred by the state due to the natural calamity might go up to Rs 50,000 crore.
Banerjee handed over a cheque of Rs 2.4 lakh each to the family members of five people from the district who lost their lives in the calamity.
Taking note of the fact that at least 15 lakh hectares of agricultural land was damaged due to the storm, she said the affected farmers would get all help from her government.
Lauding the administration in South 24 Parganas district for its initiatives to minimise the impact of Cyclone 'Bulbul', West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, 11 November, announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of those killed in the storm.
Banerjee also constituted a task force to look into the relief and restoration work.
Cyclone Bulbul, which made landfall between Sagar Islands in South 24 Parganas and Khepupara in Bangladesh, claimed at least 14 lives and affected six lakh people in different parts of Bengal.
As many as 1.78 lakh people have been shifted to 471 relief camps set up in the state.
The cyclone packed winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour (kph) when it made a predawn landfall before weakening into a deep depression, forcing the authorities to evacuate over 21 lakh people from the low-lying areas.
The cyclone in Odisha claimed at least two lives and wreaked havoc in most parts of the coastal line.
Earlier on Saturday, incessant rain left parts of Kolkata and its adjoining suburbs with waterlogged streets and overflowing drains, leading to traffic congestion during busy office hours.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has put in place a special team who are using high-power pumps to remove water from low lying areas.
‘Administration Did a Commendable Job’: Banerjee
Banerjee, following an aerial survey of the cyclone-ravaged areas of Namkhana and Bakkhali, held an administrative meeting in Kakdwip to review the work being undertaken in the aftermath of the disaster.
“My administration did a commendable job. The devastation, otherwise, could have been far more. If they (officials) had not rescued 1.78 lakh people, I cannot say what would have happened. They will be rewarded. Even the central government applauded (the efforts),” she said.
Stressing that restoration of power supply, provisions for clean drinking water and medicines were the need of the hour, Banerjee asked officials to reach out to people and ensure that the aid was evenly distributed without affecting peace in the region.
She appointed Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha as the head of the task force — which, she said, would be reviewing the ongoing relief work every 48 hours.
The Trinamool Congress supremo also advised the officials to take help of civic volunteers of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDR) to speed up the relief operations.
A total of 323 kitchens have been opened to cater to the cyclone-hit families and 94 boats employed to aid in the restoration work, the CM said.
Power Services in Areas of Odisha, Bengal Restored
Power services in the cyclone-hit areas in West Bengal and Odisha have been restored on Monday, while telecommunication links are expected to be back soon.
This was conveyed at a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, which took stock of the relief and restoration works in the aftermath of the cyclone over West Bengal and Odisha.
West Bengal reported seven human casualties, damages to about one lakh houses and standing crops, an official statement said.
While electricity has been restored, telecom services are expected to be restored shortly.
Bodies of 4 Fishermen Missing in Trawler Capsize Found
Bodies of four out of the nine fishermen, who had gone missing after their trawler capsized off Mousuni Island in West Bengal on Saturday under the impact of Cyclone Bulbul, were recovered in a joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard and the NDRF, a senior Coast Guard officer said on Monday.
The bodies have been handed over to the district administration, West Bengal and Deputy Inspector General SR Dash told PTI.
There has been a total suspension of fishing operations from Friday onwards over the West Bengal-Odisha coasts.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into northwest Bay of Bengal along the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha, and into the riverine area and sea of Sunderbans delta on Saturday and Sunday.
Tourists visiting Digha, Mandarmani in East Midnapore and Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas district have been asked not to go near the sea and stay indoors.
Extensive Crop Damage in Coastal Odisha
Heavy rain and high-velocity winds triggered by cyclone 'Bulbul' claimed at least two lives and wreaked havoc in most parts of coastal Odisha, officials said on Sunday.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel was seriously injured during restoration operation in Bhadrak district, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Shyama Bhakta Mishra said.
The cyclone also caused extensive damage to crops in the coastal districts, leaving farmers in the lurch, the officials said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also conducted an aerial survey of the affected districts on Monday.
Bengal's Losses Could Reach Rs 19,000 Crore
Cyclone Bulbul that battered the coastal districts of West Bengal before hurtling towards Bangladesh has caused a loss which could be between Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 19,000 crore in the state, a senior official said on Tuesday, 12 November.
Complete reports on damages in the districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore are yet to reach the secretariat. Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha has sought the reports.
At least 14 departments including irrigation, forest, agriculture, power, public health and engineering and panchayat were asked to submit their report on Wednesday, 13 November.
After the final report is prepared, it would be sent to the Centre, he said.
A central government team is scheduled to reach the cyclone-affected areas of West Bengal later this week and prepare a report on the devastation.
Babul Supriyo Faces Protest During Visit to Cyclone-Hit Areas
Union minister Babul Supriyo faced massive protests and was asked to go back by a group of people when he arrived in South 24 Parganas district to take stock of the situation in cyclone 'Bulbul'-hit areas.
Supriyo, who said on Tuesday, 12 November that he had been asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the storm-ravaged areas in Bengal, claimed that the agitators were activists of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Supriyo was shown black flags and was asked to stop playing politics over a natural calamity. Criticising the Mamata Banerjee-led party for engaging in ‘dirty politics’ over his visit, the Union minister said he would submit a report on the ground situation to Modi.
Taking a jibe at Supriyo, senior TMC leader and state education minister Partha Chatterjee said Supriyo should have done his homework before visiting the storm-affected places.
"What is he doing there now? Where was he when the cyclone barrelled through the coastal areas? He may be interested in politicising the matter, but the fact is we have already disbursed compensation,” Chatterjee said.
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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