WB govt will plant 5 crore mangrove trees in Sunderbans: CM

Kolkata, Jun 3 (PTI) The West Bengal government will plant five crore mangrove trees within a month in the Sunderbans area which has been devastated by super cyclone Amphan, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Wednesday.

'There has been huge damage of the mangrove forests in Amphan. Our government has decided to rebuild the damaged forests by planting saplings,' she said.

On International Environment Day on June 5, there will be a small programme at Harish Park near her residence here to launch the project for planting five crore mangrove saplings in the Sunderbans, Banerjee said.

'The project will be completed within a month,' she added.

The chief minister said Bengal is a riverine state and the mangrove forests in the Sunderbans provide a lot of protection from natural calamities.

The saplings will be planted to ensure that the forests remain intact in the Gangetic Delta that is criss-crossed by numerous rivers, tributaries and canals leading to the Bay of Bengal.

Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Kolkata Police and West Bengal Police have also decided to plant saplings in the city and other parts of the state along with the state's environment department, she said.

Thousands of trees were uprooted in the super cyclone in Kolkata alone, while causing similar or more damage in the coastal districts of South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore.

Banerjee also announced a cash benefit of Rs 10,000 each to the fishermen whose boats have been completely damaged in the cyclone through the Fisheries department.

'Nearly Rs 17.22 crore will be given under direct beneficiary transfer scheme,' she said.

More than 8,000 small fishing boats have been damaged in the cyclone of May 20, while 37,711 fishing nets have been damaged, she said.

A sum of Rs 2,600 will be provided per damaged net to the affected fishermen, while Rs 5,000 will be given to those whose boats have been partially damaged, Banerjee said.

The chief minister said over Rs 37 crore will be distributed to the affected people whose livestock, including animals and poultry have been killed in the cyclone. 'Around 24,000 goats, sheep and other animals have been killed,' she said.

She further said Rs 6,000 crore has been released for repair and relief operations for the Amphan disaster, which has caused a loss amounting to Rs one lakh crore to the state.

Banerjee said different departments of the state government like public health engineering (PHE), irrigation, forest and power have worked very efficiently in dealing with the disaster caused by Amphan, while asserting that she will ensure that the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd (WBPDCL) gets opportunities to work in more areas in the state. PTI AMR RG RDM RDM