PM visits West Bengal, Odisha in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan; conducts aerial surveys and review meetings
Cyclone Amphan, the worst storm to hit in 283 years, swept through the eastern states of Bengal and Odisha and killed over 80 people. It has caused extensive devastation to life and property. On Friday, PM Modi along with West Bengali Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took an aerial survey of the affected areas.
Cyclone Amphan, which swept through the eastern states of Bengal and Odisha has so far killed over 80 people and has caused extensive devastation to life and property. The cyclone is said to be the worst storm to hit in 283 years and has disrupted livelihoods and displaced people and uprooted trees and electrical poles. The cyclone battered the state capital Kolkata and the North and South 24 Parganas for more than four hours on Wednesday. On Friday, PM Modi along with West Bengali Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took an aerial survey of the affected areas.
Standing in Solidarity with West Bengal
In a tweet from Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences and gave his assurances that the centre stands with those affected. "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," the PM said. West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee said that 15 of the victims were from Kolkata and that most people have died due to electrocution. Modi was greeted by Banerjee at Kolkata airport at around 11:36 (IST) yesterday.
In a review meeting in Basirhat, Bengal, the PM said, "I assure my brothers and sisters of West Bengal that the entire country stands with you in these difficult times". The meeting was attended by CM Mamta Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and other state officials.
Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha too assured support to its neighbouring state. In a telephonic conversation with Banerjee, Patnaik said that all possible support would be given in terms of manpower and materials to overcome the critical situation. The storm that went past the Odisha coast jolted parts of West Bengal, causing extensive damage and disrupting lives.
Other states have also come out in support of West Bengal. The Delhi Chief Minister extended his solidarity to Bengal and Odisha. In a tweet from Friday, he said, "I extend our full support and solidarity with you and the people of West Bengal in the wake of the destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan." In another, he offered his condolences and support to Odisha.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Jha urged the Centre to intervene and provide financial aid to those affected. "If the States are announcing a financial relief package for the cyclone impacted livelihood, Centre should contribute a major portion," he said.
Centre allocates Rs 1000 crores for immediate relief
The PM also said that the Centre will allocate Rs 1000 crores for immediate assistance to Bengal. Acknowledging the unprecedented devastation felt by the people of West Bengal, he added: "In the month of May, the country was busy with elections and at that time we had to combat a cyclone that battered Odisha. Now, after a year this cyclone has affected our coastal areas. People of West Bengal have been worst affected by it."
"West Bengal under the leadership of Mamta Ji is fighting well. We are with them in these adverse times," Modi said.
Rs 2 lakh compensation to families of those dead: PM Modi
In another effort to counter the waves of destruction suffered by the people of Bengal, PM Modi announced: "Rs 2 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the persons dead and Rs 50,000 each to the persons who got seriously injured due to the cyclone in parts of West Bengal.”
Earlier, CM Mamta Banerjee had reiterated this along similar lines. She announced a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to the families of those who fell victim to the cyclone. She also said that Rs 1,000 crores were set aside as part of the relief plan.
In the review meeting, Banerjee stated that West Bengal has suffered losses of more than Rs 1 lakh crore due to cyclone Amphan.
Banerjee on Modi's visit
"At this hour of crisis, we feel that we must work together. There are so many areas where they can help us, state government also exists in this country and central government also exists. If there is a crisis everybody must work together," she said (ANI).
However expressing her discontent with the Centre's lack of clarity on the relief fund, Banerjee said, "He (PM) announced Rs 1,000 crore for the emergency fund but he didn't clarify whether it'll be an advance or package.”
PM visits Odisha
In another aerial survey conducted on Friday, PM Modi arrived at Bhubaneswar Airport, Odisha. He was received by CM Naveen Patnaik and Governor Ganeshi Lal. The Prime Minister is scheduled to cover the districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore.