‘Amphan’ death toll rises to 86, PM Modi announces Rs 1,500 crore interim assistance to Bengal, Odisha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced interim assistance of Rs 1,500 crore for cyclone-hit West Bengal and Odisha after reviewing the situation caused by cyclone ‘Amphan’ that ripped through the coastal districts of two states and claimed at least 86 lives.
The cyclone that made landfall near West Bengal’s Digha, ripped through the coastal districts of the two states and lay waste to standing crops in thousands of hectares, uprooted trees, blew off electric poles and communication towers.
As per the data provided by the state, 22 of the 86 people were electrocuted, 27 died due to uprooted trees, 21 were killed in wall collapse, 7 in house collapse, three drowned, two were killed by uprooted lamp posts, one passed away due to snakebite while three died due to cardiac arrest amidst cyclone.
Modi conducted an aerial survey of West Bengal and Odisha and reviewed the situation in the two states.
On a one-day tour of the two states, Modi first visited West Bengal where he was accompanied by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Banerjee insisted during the meeting that the state had suffered losses of over Rs 1 lakh crore for which it needed to be compensated.
Addressing the media after a meeting with Dhankhar, Banerjee, and the state’s top officials, Modi announced interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for West Bengal.
The state is already battling a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, besides an influx of returning of migrant labourers.
“Once again, a cyclone has hit the coastal region of India, especially the eastern region. It has caused great loss to our brothers and sisters of West Bengal and has caused extensive damage to the property here,” he said.
“I was constantly in touch with everyone concerned regarding the cyclonic situation. The Government of India was also in constant touch with the State Government. The state government and the central government worked hard together to take all the necessary steps to minimize the loss caused by the cyclone,” he said.
“There is also considerable loss of property – whether it is agriculture, the power sector, telecommunication, or the houses that have been damaged. There have been losses of different infrastructure, and also in the business world and the agriculture sector; everyone has suffered great losses,” the Prime Minister added.
“Rs 1,000 crore will be arranged by the Government of India as advance assistance to help the State Government in this hour of crisis. At the same time, we will also provide assistance of up to Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to the families who have lost their loved ones and up to Rs 50,000 to those who have suffered injuries,” Modi said.
“I assure all my brothers and sisters in West Bengal that the whole country is with you in this hour of crisis. The central government will stand shoulder to shoulder with you in every work. I have come to meet you at this time of crisis, but due to coronavirus, I am unable to meet all the citizens; so, there will be a regret in my mind. From here, I will go to Odisha today and will also conduct an aerial survey there. I will talk to the honourable Chief Minister and the state government,” he further said.
Prime Minister Modi later flew down to Odisha, where he announced financial assistance of another Rs 500 crore, after making an aerial survey of the affected districts with Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Modi praised the Odisha government in saving the lives of the people by timely action.
“Odisha has been able to achieve great success in saving the lives of the citizens here with the help of the arrangements that have been institutionalized here and with the knowledge of what should be done by the citizens in the villages. And many congratulations to the citizens of Odisha, the administration and the Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Babu and his entire team,” Modi said.
“But when such a big natural disaster comes, then there is an extensive loss of property. The loss in Odisha has not been much as compared to that of West Bengal, but even while crossing the state it has left its trail. It is such a crisis. And so I have fully reviewed the damage that has been caused to the housing, agriculture, power, communication and infrastructure today. The state government has also placed all the preliminary details in front of me,” he added.
We have decided to give Rs 500 crores as an advance arrangement on behalf of the Government of India, Modi said, adding that once the rest of the requirements are completed and the complete planning for rehabilitation is in place, the Centre will work shoulder to shoulder with the state government in the journey of development in Odisha and help the state to come out of this crisis.