Initial Cyclone Yaas damage Rs 20,000 crore, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tells PM Modi | Kolkata News

KOLKATA/KALAIKUNDA/DIGHA: Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee handed over a preliminary Yaas damage estimate of Rs 20,000 crore to PM Narendra Modi on Friday after surveying the devastation left behind along Bengal’s coastal zone by the cyclone on Wednesday.
Banerjee also gave Modi two “long-term assistance proposals”, seeking Rs 20,000 crore more from the Centre for ecologically sustainable rehabilitation packages for the ecologically fragile Sundarban and Digha belts. “I told the PM to ‘please do whatever you feel is needed’ before taking his permission to leave,” Banerjee said later. “But we will probably not get anything at all,” she added.
“The PM called for a meeting (in Kalaikunda). But I had a meeting in Digha that was scheduled earlier. So I went to Kalaikunda along with the state chief secretary, met the PM and handed him a report (on the damages). I also proposed two schemes. I told him that I had flown down from Sagar because he wanted to meet me and then took his permission to leave (for Digha),” Banerjee said.
The CM, who went to Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas and Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas earlier on Friday, repeated the timeline for “duare tran (doorstep relief)” and warned that complaints of discrimination of relief and denial (of rightful claims of damage) would not be tolerated. All claims should be made to state officers, she said, adding that there should not be any misuse of funds.
Cyclone victims should be able to submit their applications at their village or block office from June 3 to June 18, she said. “There were some irregularities during Amphan, which brought us disrepute. This will not be tolerated. There will be direct bank transfer of compensation this time,” Banerjee added.
The CM’s brief meeting with the PM in Kalaikunda, where she was accompanied by state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, was followed by a scheduled administrative meeting in Digha to assess the extent of damage in East Midnapore. She visited the ravaged Digha coast and announced that Bandyopadhyay would oversee the Digha Development Authority’s functioning and head a committee to suggest long-term sustainability programmes on how the coastline could be better insulated against the repeated battering from cyclones.
Banerjee also directed East Midnapore district magistrate Purnendu Majhi to ask private contractors to repair at their own cost the roads, dykes and bridges that been damaged within three years of construction. A dozen administrative blocks along the coast and rivers were under water and 18 lakh people had been directly affected by the cyclone, Majhi told the CM, adding that 7000 hectares of agricultural land — some with standing crops — and fisheries could have been damaged by saline water. The CM’s next aerial survey will focus on Nandigram, Khejuri and Ramnagar on Saturday.
The CM focused on security of women and children staying in relief camps in North 24 Parganas and asked district magistrate Sumit Gupta to arrange for adequate relief and ensure pregnant women did not face any problem. In South 24 Parganas, she told district magistrate P Ulganathan to ensure money was not wasted on mud embankments that could not protect villages from heavy rains and cyclones.

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