Opposition parties BJP, CPM, and Congress Saturday met the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) that was in the state survey areas hit in Cyclone Amphan, and asked it to ensure that money meant for relief and restoration projects gets properly utilised. The funds should not be siphoned off by any political party, they added.
While the CPM and the Congress proposed transparency in the process of formulating the list of beneficiaries by putting it up on a website and designating Amphan a national disaster, the BJP demanded that a nodal officer from the Centre be appointed to oversee the process.
“A proper assessment of damage should be done, and the Centre, which has already released Rs 1,000 crore, should help the state with relief and restoration work. Houses and embankments need to be built and people who are affected should get relief. However, we have seen reports that people with concrete, undamaged houses have got money for repairs. This is what we fear,” BJP president Dilip Ghosh told the central team during the meeting in a city hotel.
He alleged that after previous cyclones such as Aila, which struck the state in 2009, and Bulbul, in November 2019, victims did not get any money. “Money went into the pockets of ruling party leaders. This should not happen and the Central team should ensure it. Money should be directly given to the bank accounts of the victims of the cyclone. We also proposed that there should be a nodal officer from the centre who will oversee relief and reconstruction for the next six months or a year.”
The CPM and the Congress said there should not be any discrimination in the distribution of relief.
“One has to give relief through a neutral mentality. The team should ensure that the money should not be looted by a political party. There should be a transparent mechanism where lists of applicants and recipients should be uploaded in a website for all to see,” said CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty.
State Congress chief Somen Mitra, who led his party’s delegation, spoke along similar lines. “We met the team and told them that the Centre should declare it a national disaster, considering the scale of the damage done by Amphan,” Mitra told reporters.
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