The West Bengal government on Saturday revised its assessment of the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan, telling an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) that the state had been set back by Rs 1,02,442 lakh crore. The day before, the Mamata Banerjee administration had reported losses worth Rs 80,000 crore.
The Centre’s representatives, who had arrived in the state on Thursday on a three-day visit, met Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and other senior officials and secretaries at state secretariat Nabanna for almost an hour after surveying cyclone-hit areas in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas for two days.
The team, led by Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary Anuj Sharma arrived at Nabanna around 3 pm. “The central team listened to all the problems we are facing in restoration work, and the need for rehabilitation work,” said a senior state government official.
“We gave them a detailed PowerPoint presentation. The team told us what they saw is similar to what we have reported. They seemed very satisfied with our report, and advised us to send a detailed memorandum in the future as soon as possible,” another senior state official.
Providing a breakup of the damages sought, the government said 28.56 lakh homes worth Rs 28,560 crore were devastated during the cyclone. The government also sought Rs 5,181 crore for the 244.73 km of embankments, 2,148.22 km of roads, 10,091.17 km of rural roads, and 355 bridges and culverts damaged by the cyclone.
In the report, the Trinamool Congress administration said crops worth Rs 15,860 crore were destroyed, and industries suffered losses worth Rs 26,790 crore. According to the government, sectors such as fisheries, horticulture, animal resource, power, forest, drinking water, education, health, anganwadis, and urban infrastructure also took a hit. It pointed out that 14,640 schools, 301 colleges, 12,678 ICDS centres were also devastated in the storm.
“A list of our assessment of the losses was given to the team. We have shared our views and told them about areas where immediate help is required. They have taken a note of it,” said a senior state bureaucrat.
The Centre had released Rs 1,000 crore following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the affected districts on May 22. After the IMCT submits its assessment to the Centre, more central funds may be released.
Meanwhile, a day after visiting Sandeshkhali, Patharpratima, Namkhana, Hingalganj and Basirhat, the seven-member team went around some parts of the Katandighi-Raidighi area, accompanied by local officials. They talked to villagers about the availability of relief materials, and loss of agriculture and properties.
“Please ensure we get more tarpaulin. We have been living in very difficult situations. Scores of houses were ravaged and agricultural land destroyed,” a villager told them in broken Hindi.
“They did not go into the interiors to see the real picture. Their convoy stopped on the highway and they got down, went around adjacent areas briefly and went back. They did not go to a nearby place where the mud embankment had been breached by water and the entire area is flooded. What is the objective of such a visit,” said Barun Das, a local villager.
(With PTI inputs)
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