Mamata pegs loss due to cyclone 'Bulbul' at Rs 50,000 crore
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after conducting an aerial survey of cyclone 'Bulbul'-hit areas in North 24 Parganas district, 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 cheques 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 has been damaged due to the storm and accompanying rain, she said the affected farmers would get all possible help from her government. "Going by what I have seen, I think the cyclone has led to massive destruction. By massive, I mean really massive People sitting in Kolkata and other parts of the state will not be able to realise the degree of devastation.
"If I'm not wrong, I think there has been a loss of Rs 50,000 crore or more," the CM said at an administrative review meeting here following the reconnaissance. Those who have enrolled their names for the state government's crop insurance scheme would get 100 per cent coverage for their loss, she asserted.
"A total of 15 lakh hectares of agricultural land has been damaged. The entire paddy cultivation has been ruined. It's a great loss. It's good that we managed to save lives of thousands of people but the loss incurred is huge.
"I assure the farmers of all form of support from our government. The farmers under the state's crop insurance policy will get hundred per cent coverage," the CM maintained. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo further said that the state government would soon announce a special package for the affected farmers.
At least nine people have lost their lives in the calamity - five from North 24 Parganas, three from South 24 Parganas and one from Purba Midnapore - while seven fishermen were still missing, Banerjee said during the meeting. According to the chief minister, six lakh people have been affected and over five lakh houses damaged due to the cyclone, which made landfall on Saturday night between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh.
The CM gave assurances to rebuild damaged houses under her government's 'Banglar Bari' scheme. She announced one hurricane lamp and five litres of kerosene for each affected family in the state.
Banerjee also directed the education department to provide books to schoolchildren appearing for board examinations in the storm-hit areas. She asked the officials to send water pouches and tarpaulin to cyclone-ravaged places.
Referring to the mangroves that saved Sunderbans from the wrath of the storm, Banerjee also directed the officials to initiate such plantations in North 24 Parganas. The CM advised the power department to adopt a cautious approach while attempting to restore power as several places in the district were still inundated.
She also urged the officials to ensure that no one was duped on the promise of government aid. "Police need to stay active and keep a watch on those coming and leaving these areas as there could be some with ill intentions. I would also ask everyone to refrain from engaging in politics," she said.
Lauding the administration for playing a pivotal role in shifting people to safer areas before the cyclone hit the coast, the CM asked the officials to maintain a steady flow of relief materials to those in need. "You have done a commendable job and I would urge you to keep up the good work. Your work should set an example for other states to emulate," Banerjee said.
She advised the administration to take help of NGOs Rotary Club and Lion's Club to speed up the relief operations. "Talk to Rotary Club or the Lion's Club and take their help... However, don't approach just about any NGO because some may take money and tarnish our reputation. We are not taking money from anybody," Banerjee added..
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)