Army deployed in cyclone-ravaged Bengal for restoration work

Kolkata, May 23 (PTI) The Army was deployed in Kolkata and neighbouring districts on Saturday for restoration of essential infrastructure and services in the wake of the destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan, a defence official said.

Five columns of the Army were deployed in different parts of the city and North and South 24 Parganas districts, he said.

These three parts of the state reported the maximum damage due to the cyclone which claimed 86 lives, flattened homes and damaged crops.

The deployment comes hours after the state government sought the Army's help and other support for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services.

'The Indian Army has provided three columns to assist the Kolkata city administration in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan,' the defence official said.

Army personnel equipped with road and tree clearance equipment were deployed at Tollygunge, Ballygunge and Behala in south Kolkata, he said.

Army columns were also deployed for restoration work at New Town in North 24 Parganas district and at Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district, he added.

An Army column has 35 men, including officers and junior commissioned officers.

In a series of tweets earlier in the day, the home department said the state government has mobilised maximum strength in a unified command mode for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services.

'Army support has been called for; NDRF and SDRF teams deployed; Rlys, Port & private sector too requested to supply teams and equipment,' it said.

It added drinking water and drainage infrastructure is being restored fast and the Public Health Engineering Department has been asked to supply water pouches in areas facing a scarcity.

Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kmph, Cyclone Amphan barrelled through coastal districts of West Bengal and Odisha on Wednesday, unleashing copious rain and windstorm.

Amphan was the fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years. PTI AMR SCH SOM SNS DIV DIV