Sporadic protests in parts of Kolkata continued for the sixth day on Monday over restoration of water and power supply as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that 80 per cent of the essential services had resumed in cyclone Amphan-hit areas.
People protested at Behala, Garia, Santoshpur, Garfa, Prince Anwar Shah Road, Charu Market, Sapuipara and other places in Kolkata by blocking roads or sitting on a dharna.
“There is no electricity in our area for the last six days. Our mobile phones are switched off and we are unable to get any news as we could not charge them,” said one of the protesters at Behala.
In a stern message to power utility company Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), Firhad Hakim, chairman of board of administrators at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, asked it to hire more employees for restoring power supply. “Enough is enough. People’s patience is running out. CESC must employ more workers to complete the process of bringing back power supply in the city,” said Hakim.
Describing the cyclone as “Bengal’s grimmest disaster ever”, CM Banerjee, in a statement, said important services had been restored in a majority of urban areas in the state.
“All major hospitals, water treatment plants, water supply units, irrigation and drainage pumping facilities and power sub stations have been made operational. These works will continue till normalcy is restored,” she said.
According to the release, 2,35,200 personnel have been directly deployed by the state government for rescue operation.
The chief minister also thanked state government employees, policemen, the Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), SDRF (State Disaster Response Force), Odisha government personnel for tirelessly working to restore power and water supply in the state.
Army and NDRF teams, assisted by SDRF, continued to remove uprooted trees from Kolkata’s arterial roads. As many as 30 teams from Odisha’s fire and emergency services department took part in cutting of uprooted trees. The Army was deployed in Kolkata and its neighbouring districts Saturday, hours after the state sought its help for rescue operations.
The West Bengal government had on Sunday instructed the two power utilities in the state — WBSEDCL and CESC — to take action in restoring power supply to the cyclone-hit areas.
The cyclone which had made landfall in West Bengal on May 19 destroyed electric poles, damaged transformers and uprooted trees that fell on electric wires, disrupting power supply in several parts of the state, including Kolkata.
Mobile and internet services are yet to be restored in several parts of South and North 24 Parganas, and East Midnapore districts. Sources in CESC said power was supplied to 95 per cent of the affected areas in Kolkata.
Meanwhile, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was on Monday seen removing uprooted trees from roads near his residence in Salt Lake area of North 24 Parganas district.
“The roads were blocked even six days after cyclone Amphan. Residents are facing a lot of problems. So, I along with some other people decided to remove these trees on our own,” Ghosh told reporters.
He later slammed the state government for failing to tackle the post cyclone situation.
“The state government is trying to wash its hands off the matter. Everyone knew the cyclone was coming then why were precautionary steps not taken to combat the devastation? Now, it is blaming everyone for people’s suffering,” said the BJP leader.
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