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Cyclone Amphan: PM Modi announces ₹1,000 cr interim aid to W. Bengal

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on May 22, 2020 Published on May 22, 2020

PM Narendra Modi doing aerial survey and assesses damage due ot cyclone Amphan which created large-scale destruction in West Bengal. Photo: Special Arrangement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an advance “financial assistance” package of ₹1,000 crore for West Bengal to cope with and re-build the state in the wake of large scale destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan.

A more detailed package is in the works post surveys by the state government and Central teams, the PM further said.

The Prime Minister, along with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan especially across South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas – the two worst affected districts in the state.

A major chunk of South 24 Parganas is said to have been devastated as Cyclone Amphan passed over it with wind speed of 155-165 km/hr and gusts up to 180 km/hr. The cyclone had made a landfall in the South 24 Parganas district.

Post aerial survey, the Prime Minister chaired an administrative meeting at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas, some 70 kilometers from the state capital (Kolkata). The CM and Chief Secretary were also present.

“I have been briefed in detail by the state government. They will prepare a report post the survey and send it to the Centre. A central team will also survey and assess the damages. A comprehensive package will be announced for Bengal,” he said post the meeting and aerial survey.

“As an advance, we are now announcing a financial assistance of ₹1,000 crore for the state. Together we will rebuild Bengal,” the Prime Minister said in an emotional speech.

Incidentally, the West Bengal Chief Minister has already sought central assistance to rebuild the state from one of worst natural calamities in recent times. Losses are expected to be to the tune of Rs 1-lakh crore or more.

‘With the people’

The Prime Minister further added that the Centre will “stand shoulder to shoulder with Bengal”. “Necessary precautions were taken. But even then 80 people have died. We feel sorry for the loss of lives and damages to property,” he mentioned.

Of the 80 dead so far, 19 are from Kolkata. There are a number of electrocution deaths too.

Incidentally, West Bengal had carried out a massive evacuation exercise with over 5 lakh people being relocated to community centres, schools and cyclone and flood relief centres. Modi also announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh for the kin of the deceased; while another ₹50,000 has been announced for the injured.

The Prime Minister will take a similar aerial survey to assess the damage in the neighbouring state of Odisha.

Kolkata still affected

Power outage continues in many parts of Kolkata and the surrounding areas – running into 40-odd hours in some areas – while a majority of the city’s thoroughfares bear the marks of the devastation with around 1,800 uprooted trees and complete destruction of unstructured markets.

Efforts are being made to normalise traffic movement and putting essential services back on track. People in some localities of Kolkata are also shifting out temporarily.

According to sources, death toll in Cyclone Amphan has reached 80.

Purba Medinipur, Howrah and Hooghly have also borne the brunt of the cyclone.

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Published on May 22, 2020
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