PM announces ₹1,000 cr aid for Bengal, ₹500 cr for Odisha

Later Mr. Modi, undertook an aerial survey of affected areas in Odisha along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

May 22, 2020 01:59 pm | Updated 11:13 pm IST - Kolkata/Bhubaneswar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a rehabilitation package of ₹1,000 crore for West Bengal and ₹500 crore for Odisha after an aerial survey of the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan .

“An advance assistance of ₹1,000 crore will be arranged by the government of India, so that the State government does not face any major hardship during these difficult times,” Mr. Modi said following the survey of affected areas with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankar.

Also read: Cyclone Amphan | Worst over for India, says Ministry of Earth Sciences

“In addition ₹2 lakh will be given from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to the family of the deceased and ₹50,000 each for the seriously injured,” Mr Modi added.

The State government had announced a relief and rehabilitation package of ₹1,000 crore on Thursday and a compensation package of ₹2.5 lakh to the families of the deceased. Indicating that the “State and the Centre should work together at this hour of crisis”, Ms. Banerjee said the Prime Minister had witnessed large scale damage in North and South 24 Paraganas.

“For an hour Prime Minister witnessed the damage. From Rajarahat, Bhangar, Hasnabad, Sandeshkhali, Basirhat, Hingalganj (North 24) to Patharpratima, Namkhana, Kakdweep, Basanti (South 24) — the entire area was shown aerially. The entire area is flooded, dams on rivers collapsed. I have also shown photographs of Kolkata indicating the extent of damage,” Ms. Banerjee said.

Also read: Cyclone Amphan batters West Bengal, Odisha

Earlier the Chief Minister and a number of BJP State leaders, including party’s State president Dilip Ghosh and four Central Ministers, received the Prime Minister at the airport. 

Following the aerial survey, Mr. Modi and Ms. Banerjee met at Basirhat subdivision in North 24 Paraganas. Senior officials of the State administration briefed the Prime Minister. Following the briefing, Prime Minister said the State government will conduct a detailed survey of the extent and scale of damage. It is expected that following the submission of the report, a more extensive package will be announced.

“Meanwhile a central team will also conduct a survey in the State,” the Prime Minister said. He acknowledged that in such situations there is a huge pressure on aspects as all sectors — agriculture, power, telecommunication to housing — are affected,” he said.

Also read: Super cyclone Amphan leaves 45 lakh affected in Odisha

It is a “difficult fight” as the battle against coronavirus and the one against Amphan move in two different directions, Mr. Modi said after conducting aerial survey of the flood-hit region.

“To fight Corona, it is said stay at home, do not go out or maintain a distance of two yards, whereas in case of cyclone it is instructed that one needs to shift to a safe place, move out of your house. Two different types of fight West Bengal had to fight.

“However, under the leadership of Mamataji, the State government has put in its full effort. The Central government has also stood by the State government and did what was required,” Mr. Modi said.

On Thursday night, Ms. Banerjee had said at least 80 people had died in the cyclone. 

With Naveen Patnaik

Later Mr. Modi, undertook an aerial survey of affected areas in Odisha along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi, and held a high level review here.

“I reviewed the damage sustained in agriculture, housing, power, infrastructure and communication sectors due to cyclone. The State government also made a detail presentation about the loss. The State will soon send a comprehensive estimate of loss to Centre,” Mr. Modi said.

Also read: In pictures: Cyclone Amphan makes landfall

Stating that a central team will immediately visit Odisha and review the situation meticulously, Mr. Modi said they would look into long term aspects of relief, restoration and rehabilitation works.

Praise for CM

Mr. Modi was, however, full of praise for the Naveen Patnaik government for handling the natural disaster.

“It was a matter of grave concern as to what extent the super cyclone would harm Odisha while hurtling towards West Bengal. Here, the administration achieved success in saving lives because the mechanism was institutionalized and citizens up to village level knew it very well that what was to be done during the crisis like this,” he said.

“Mr. Patnaik, his full team and people deserve to be praised. When natural disaster of such magnitude comes, it is bound to cause loss of property. But, Odisha did not suffer much loss as compared to that of West Bengal,” he pointed out.

“After completion of total survey and drawing up of rehabilitation plan, Government of India will work shoulder to shoulder with the State government and extend help to overcome this critical situation,” Mr. Modi assured.

Odisha government had said that 45 lakh people in 89 blocks were affected by the cyclone.

Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind spoke to Governor Ganeshi Lal, and Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik, and expressed his concern about people’s well-being in the wake of devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan.

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