PM announces Rs 1K cr aid for West Bengal

Kolkata, May 22 (IANS) | Publish Date: 5/22/2020 1:19:26 PM IST

After conducting an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas of West Bengal on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs 1,000 crore relief package for the state, saying the nation stood with Bengal in this hour of crisis.

“I assure my brothers and sisters of West Bengal that the entire country stands with you in these difficult times,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister also said that Rs 2 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the deceased persons while those who suffered serious injuries will get Rs 50,000 each.

Severe cyclone Amphan made its landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday afternoon and caused severe damages in various parts of the state with a wind speed ranging from 155 kmph to 185 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall. At least 80 people have lost their lives due to the cyclone, as per sources.

Modi said that a Central team will be sent to the state soon to conduct a detailed survey of the damages caused by Amphan, adding that all aspects related to rehabilitation and reconstruction will be addressed. “We all want West Bengal to move ahead,” he said.

Earlier, as the Prime Minister landed in Bengal to take stock of the trail of destruction left behind by the severe cyclonic storm, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar came to receive him along with the senior state BJP leadership.

Modi and Banrejee then together conducted an aerial survey of the areas affected by Amphan, said to be the strongest super cyclone to have made a landfall in the Bay of Bengal area since 1999. They flew over the areas which have been submerged in water due to incessant rainfall.

On Thursday, Banerjee had said, “I would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and visit the affected areas,” adding that she had never witnessed such a severe cyclone in her entire life.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had tweeted: “Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy.”

Modi will now take off for Odisha, which has also been badly hit by the cyclone.

Bengal suffered losses of over Rs 1 L cr: Mamata

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said West Bengal has suffered losses of more than Rs 1 lakh crore due to super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’, which has killed 80 people and left thousands homeless in the state.

After conducting an aerial survey of some of the affected areas and attending a review meeting along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, she said there is a need to work together at this hour of crisis.

“Most of the areas we surveyed were totally ravaged. I have briefed the prime minister in detail about the post-cyclone situation in the state,” she told reporters at the airport after seeing off Modi. The prime minister announced an advance interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the state after the meeting.

“The prime minister has announced Rs 1,000 crore emergency fund... What’s the package I don’t know. I have told him that we will give him the details. It will take some time to assess the full overall situation but damage is of more than Rs 1 lakh crore,” she said.

Banerjee said she “reminded the prime minister about Rs 53,000 crore the central government owes to the state for various social security schemes.”

“If they (Centre) give some money to us, we can work,” she said.

The chief minister said she showed Modi some photographs capturing the havoc caused by ‘Amphan’ in Kolkata.

Cyclone Amphan is the strongest to hit the region in nearly two decades. It has battered several parts of the state, washing away bridges and swamping low-lying areas. Seven districts badly hit are South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata. 


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