Three women were injured in South 24 Parganas district’s Kultali area on Thursday after a stampede-like situation developed as people scuffled outside a BDO office while waiting to apply for cyclone Amphan relief funds, sources said.
According to the police, two of the women were gravely injured, and were admitted to the local Jamtala hospital.
In almost all districts of South Bengal, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, several allegations of misappropriation of cyclone relief funds have been raised against workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress. Following the emergence of these accusations, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that all affected people who did not receive relief money would get to apply again at BDO offices.
From early on Thursday, thousands of people from different gram panchayats queued up outside the Kultali BDO office, which was scheduled to accept fresh applications. A few hours later, a scuffle broke out after some allegedly did not maintain a proper queue, causing the stampede-like situation. According to sources, an adequate number of policemen were not deployed in the area.
One of the injured women, Ashima Halder, said: “We had lined up at the BDO office from the morning, but there was no one to help us. Nobody was there to maintain the queue properly. Otherwise, the accident could have been averted.”
Kultali block BDO Bipratim Basak said, “I have no knowledge of anyone getting injured, but I have heard that there was a huge gathering and some scuffle broke out. However, police had brought the situation under control.”
On Wednesday, in Deulbari area of Kultali block, a scrutiny team of BDO office was gheraoed when the team had gone to that gram panchayat area for inspection. After the local residents were assured that an FIR would be filed against local TMC Panchayat chief over charges of corruption, the team was allowed to leave.
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