A day after Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo visited the Bulbul-hit areas in the state and amid BJP’s allegation of political bias on part of the ruling Trinamool Congress in distribution of relief material to people, Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said this is not the time to indulge in politics over it. She, however, alleged that the central government was not providing the funds, which were due to the state.
“A massive cyclone swept our state recently. Instead of standing by the people, who have been affected by the cyclonic storm, some people are indulging in politics and making tall statements. I will appeal them not to do it as this is not the time to indulge in politics. Stand by the people. There should be no discrimination in relief distribution,” Banerjee told media on the sidelines of an administrative meeting at the state secretariat.
Without naming any party, Banerjee said she “also request those breaking statues not to indulge in such things (politics)”.
“I am not sure how much the Centre will help. We will do as much as possible. We don’t want to do politics with everything. Had we wanted, we could have done a lot of politics (over Bulbul),” Banerjee said, adding that around Rs 17,000 crore is due to the state from the Centre.
“The pending funds from the Centre could have been used for relief work. A lot of work has been done, but five blocks are still inundated. The Centre should come forward to help us,” Banerjee told reporters.
She also took a jibe at Supriyo who visited the cyclone-hit areas in South 24 Parganas district on Wednesday and faced protests from the villagers.
“As per our constitutional provisions, both the central and state governments are elected governments. We have a working understanding. The central government will take care of its part and the state will look after its. Both must work together. Individual politicians or people who are BJP supporters or mouthpiece must stop playing the dirty game,” she said without taking any name.
“Sometimes we have to see that people’s interest is the greater interest and humanity is greater than anything else,” she added.
Supriyo hit her back: “I had gone there at the instruction of the Prime Minister. My question is why it took her government six days to start the relief distribution. She must first send the government officials and her ministers to the affected areas to stand by the people.”
Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar too said that no one should indulge in politics over relief distribution.
“Let us not put politics into governance. The moment we put politics into governance, we will someway damage the fabric of democracy. All agencies are working. If required, I will visit the cyclone-hit areas,” he told reporters.
Class 10 board exams to be postponed by 7 days in storm-hit areas
The state government on Thursday announced that Madhyamik (secondary) examination will be postponed by seven days in cyclone-hit areas to help the students.
“The cyclone damaged over 15 lakh hectares of cropland. As a result, a huge amount of cultivated paddy, ready to be harvested, has been destroyed. Five lakh houses have been flattened. Six lakh people have been affected. Among the affected are many Madhyamik examinees. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the Madhyamik examination in those areas by seven days,” Banerjee said.
The CM added, “We have decided to distribute 50 lakh water pouches through Public Health Engineering Department, of which 10 lakh have already been given out. Of the 3,173 uprooted electric poles, 3,117 have been replaced. Only a few are left to be installed in the remote areas of Sandeshkhali, Gosaba, Hasnabad, Hingalganj, Patharpratima and Sagardighi blocks (in North and South 24 Parganas).”