Other States

Bengal pegs cyclone Amphan damage at ₹1.02 lakh crore

Hanging Electric pole at Layalpur Pukur area of Kolkata, due to heavy rain and strong wind of 133 kmph of the Super Cyclone Amphan which made a landfall on the Digha-Sunderban area on May 23, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

An Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) that visited West Bengal to assess the damage due to cyclone Amphan held a discussion with Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha at the State Secretariat on Saturday.

The State government submitted a report to the seven-member IMCT, estimating the quantum of damage at about ₹1.02 lakh crore.

According to the documents submitted by the State government, about 28.6 lakh houses have been damaged, with the loss estimated at ₹28,650 crore. Also, 17 lakh hectares of agricultural crops worth ₹15,800 crore are estimated to have been destroyed. The other sectors affected are roads, irrigation canals, drinking water facilities, education and health infrastructure, as well as urban infrastructure, according to the government.

Cyclone Amphan made landfall on May 20 near Sagar Island and devastated coastal areas of the State, particularly South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts. About 98 people lost their lives, and life in Kolkata and adjoining areas were affected for several days because of the cyclone.

The Centre provided ₹1,000 crore to the State after the Prime Minister made an aerial survey of the affected regions. The IMCT arrived in the State on June 4 and visited affected areas of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas.

Direct Benefit Transfer sought

Earlier, representatives of Opposition parties met the IMCT and demanded that the money for cyclone relief be directly transferred to the affected people.

Personnel of 3rd battallon NDRF who were specially sent to West Bengal, from its Regional Center at Cuttack district of Orissa to assist Government in restoring the Normalcy, post Super cyclone Amphan, clearing the very old and huge Peepal tree at Naktala- Goria road in Kolkata

Personnel of 3rd battallon NDRF who were specially sent to West Bengal, from its Regional Center at Cuttack district of Orissa to assist Government in restoring the Normalcy, post Super cyclone Amphan, clearing the very old and huge Peepal tree at Naktala- Goria road in Kolkata   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

“Please implement a Direct Benefit Transfer scheme so that the actual victims get the relief without the immediate touts,” State Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar said in a written submission to the Central team. “Also, the delivery system of relief material and extra rations needs similar monitoring for the benefit of the affected people,” he added.

The Left parties demanded that Amphan cyclone be declared a natural disaster. “We have demanded that the compensation should reach the affected people and not be diverted,” said Sujan Chakraborty, the leader of the Left’s Legislature party. “The money meant for relief must not be used for the use of a political party or for looting… Either everybody signs on the list of victims (for compensation) involving all the political parties, or some other method by which the work can be done in a neutral fashion,” he added.

West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Somen Mitra said that the advance of ₹1,000 crore provided by the Centre was “nothing”, and that the IMCT should make its assessment and decide upon the amount. “But one thing that needs to be ensured is that the money that is going to come should be properly utilised and not be put into any political fund,” Mr. Mitra said.


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