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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Cyclone Yaas: CM Mamata Banerjee announces 1,000 crore immediate relief

Sources said the decision to transfer the relief money directly to the beneficiaries' bank accounts was following complaints of corruption in the relief distribution last year in the wake of cyclone Amphan.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: May 28, 2021 4:12:10 am
Cyclone yaasA breach in an embankment caused by cyclone Yaas on Wednesday at Shankarpur village in Purba Medinipur. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Announcing a Rs 1,000 crore package for immediate relief to people affected by Cyclone Yaas in the coastal districts of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the relief money would be transferred directly to the bank account of the beneficiaries.

The relief campaign, named ‘Duare Tran’, has been modelled on the government’s earlier campaign of ‘Duare Sarkar’ (Government at your doorstep), and will be held in the cyclone-affected gram panchayat and blocks from June 3.

“We have sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore as an immediate relief package. To expedite the relief operation, I have decided to launch ‘Duare Tran’ camps in all the affected blocks and gram panchayats. This camp will function from June 3 to June 18 where we will receive the claims from the affected people. From June 19 to June 30, we will verify their claims and from July 1 to July 8, all the cyclone-affected people will get their relief money directly in their bank accounts,” the chief minister told mediapersons at Nabanna – the state secretariat – on Thursday after holding a review meeting on the cyclone.

Sources said the decision to transfer the relief money directly to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts was following complaints of corruption in the relief distribution last year in the wake of cyclone Amphan. “Duare Tran” scheme has been introduced to avoid the last year’s mistakes, a senior official said.

On Thursday, the government said the death toll from cyclone Yaas reached five, with four more deaths reported from Behrampore (2), Howrah (1) and Purba Medinipur (1).

“It is too early to estimate the total loss and damage done by cyclone Yaas, but the preliminary ground report suggests that loss of movable and immovable assets is worth Rs 15,000 crore… The entire machinery of the state government will work in a mission mode to ensure the success of ‘Duare Tran’. No actual beneficiaries will be deprived of relief and compensation,” the chief minister said.

Banerjee, who is set to take an aerial survey of the affected districts of North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur on Friday and Saturday, has ordered a probe into the construction of embankments that were damaged within a year of their construction.

The chief minister came down heavily on the officials of the state Irrigation Department during the review meeting and asked them why the dams and bridges built by the department last year following cyclone Amphan were washed away by cyclone Yaas.

Alleging sub-standard quality of materials used in the construction of the bridges and embankments, the chief minister said that private contractors involved in the projects will be asked to compensate.

“A task force will be made to monitor the project work – from issuing tenders to the execution processes — in the PWD and Irrigation Department. Why did the Bidyadhari embankment collapse? It was constructed during cyclone Amphan last year. Then how come it was damaged so soon? Let the Finance Department begin an inquiry. If private construction companies are not doing the government job properly, then they will be asked to compensate. Either they will compensate us or they have to maintain the quality,” Banerjee said at the review meeting that was opened to the mediapersons.

She also came down heavily on officials for failing to plant five crore mangrove plant within a year.

Governor praises CM

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday praised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her relief work following cyclone Yaas and her decision to directly transfer the relief money to the affected people.

“Appreciate exemplary commitment in synergy @MamataOfficial in relief #CycloneYaas @easterncomd @indiannavy @IAF_MCC @IndiaCoastGuard @BSF_India @NDRFHQ @IMDWeather Relief and Rehabilitation needs to be transparent, accountable with direct benefit transfer to deserved,” he tweeted.

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