The death toll in West Bengal due to cyclone Amphan has risen to 86 and the State has suffered a loss of about ₹1 lakh crore, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday.
“More than 86 persons have died. 70% people are directly affected, 30% are indirectly affected,” Ms. Banerjee told journalists at the State Secretariat. On the restoration of essential infrastructure and services, the Chief Minister said that the situation was more than a national disaster and the State government was doing all it could. Ms. Banerjee explained that because of the COVID-19 outbreak only 25-30% of the workers were working. She said that about 1,000 teams were working on the ground, adding that the State had requested help from Jharkhand and Odisha.
“This is not the time to do politics. Those who are trying to provoke people are wrong,” she said.
The Chief Minister touched on the issue of return of migrants to the State and said that the migrants could return after May 27. The State government had written to the Railways to suspend the trains till May 26. The Chief Minister urged the migrants to give an undertaking that they would make their homes their quarantine centres.
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Earlier, the Chief Minister held an administrative meeting at Namkhana in the badly hit South 24 Parganas and spoke to the district authorities. She directed that any damage to ‘katcha’ houses should be treated as “fully damaged”. Ms. Banerjee said that 10 lakh houses had been damaged in South 24 Parganas district alone. She also met the officials of the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, a private company, at their office in central Kolkata accompanied by the Police Commissioner and requested them to work at full capacity. She made similar requests to a State-run power company, as well those in charge of power distribution in the districts. Meanwhile, senior Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the State was “not a rich government and thus everything cannot be corrected in a day”.
Appeal for Eid
The Chief Minister urged people to maintain social distancing and stay away from religious gatherings on the occasion of Eid-ul Fitr. “The Disaster Management Act bans any religious gathering. The minority brothers and sisters are respecting the Act. I appeal to everyone that in these exceptional times people should pray from home,” she said, adding that she was pained by the circumstances that had prevented people from celebrating religious festivals.
Also read: Odisha sends help to battered Bengal
Separately on Saturday, BJP State president Dilip Ghosh asserted that he had been stopped from visiting the cyclone ravaged areas of South 24 Parganas. BJP supporters accompanying Mr. Ghosh are reported to have had an altercation with the police. Mr. Ghosh alleged said that while Trinamool Congress leaders were visiting cyclone affected areas, the rule had changed for BJP leaders.