Mamata seeks Rs 20,000cr relief package for cyclone-ravaged

·3-min read

Bengal; Amit Shah, Guv slam her absence at review meet (Eds: Adds fresh inputs) Kolkata, May 28 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday sought a Rs 20,000-crore relief package after submitting a report to Prime Minister Naredra Modi on damages caused by cyclone 'Yaas', even as she faced harsh criticism for skipping a longer review meet to assess the post-storm situation.

Modi flew down to Odisha earlier in the day to review the post-cyclone situation, and then made his way to Bengal, where the storm wreaked havoc in the coastal districts.

The state has incurred a loss of Rs 20,000 crore due to the cyclone, Banerjee said.

'We have sought a package of Rs 10,000 crore each for the redevelopment of Digha and the Sunderbans... It could well be that we might not get anything,' she told reporters in the tourist town of Digha, shortly after meeting Modi at Kalaikunda in Paschim Medinipur district.

Banerjee, however, skipped the review meeting with the prime minister, where Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, BJP's Nandigram MLA and leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, and Raiganj MP Debasree Chaudhuri were also present.

'The CM came, handed over some papers to the PM and left. She did not participate in the review meeting.... This is a day when we all should have been united in seeking assistance from the central government. There is no scope of politics during this crisis,' Adhikari said.

In a tweet, Banerjee said she had 'proceeded to review the relief and restoration work at Digha', after apprising the PM about the post-cyclone situation in West Bengal.

Her absence from the review meeting was decried by Dhankhar and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who said Banerjee 'put arrogance above public welfare'.

'Mamata Didi's conduct today is an unfortunate low.

Cyclone Yaas has affected several common citizens and the need of the hour is to assist those affected. Sadly, Didi has put arrogance above public welfare and todays petty behaviour reflects that,' Shah tweeted.

Dhakhar, in another tweet, said: 'It would have been in interest of state if CM and officials @MamataOfficial had participated in Review Meet with PM. Difficult to appreciate.

No official present in Review Meet and no meeting between PM and CM, much less one to one. Such confrontation has no place in democracy.

'Such boycott not in consonance with constitution and federalism. Certainly by such actions neither public interest nor interest of state has been served.' Adhikary added that Banerjee's decision to give the meeting a miss has shown once again that she is 'insensitive' to the sufferings of the people of the state.

Meanwhile, a release issued by the Prime Minister's Office said Modi has announced a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for immediate relief activities.

'Rupees 500 crore would be immediately given to Odisha. Another Rs 500 crore has been announced for West Bengal and Jharkhand, which will be released on the basis of the damage.

'The Union Government will deploy an inter-ministerial team to visit the states to assess the extent of damage, based on which further assistance will be given,' it said.

The PM has also declared an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured in the cyclone, the release said.

Cyclone 'Yaas' rampaged through parts of India's eastern coast on Wednesday, killing at least four people and forcing more than 21 lakh people to be evacuated to safe shelters in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand.

Heavy rainfall was reported at several places under the impact of the cyclone in all the three states on Thursday.

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