Mamata Banerjee asks Modi for funds to restructure Digha and Sundarbans

National State Top Story

She proposed two schemes, ₹10,000 crores each, to rectify the damage done to Digha and the Sundarbans.

Kolkata: Chief Minister of West Bengal (WB), Mamata Banerjee, held a private meeting with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi at the Kalaikunda airbase, Kharagpur, WB, to discuss the aftermath of the cyclone Yaas. 

The chief minister held a press conference at Digha where she told reporters that she along with the chief secretary for the government of West Bengal, Alapan Bandyopadhyay, had submitted a report to the PM that stated that the cyclone has caused damage of 20,000 crores. Additionally, she asked for 10,000 crores each for restructuring of Digha and the Sundarbans. 

The meeting was supposed to be a review meeting where the governor of West Bengal, Jagdeep Dhankar, and the opposition leader, Suvendu Adhikari, and state officials, were supposed to be present. But the chief minister skipped the review meeting because of the opposition leader’s presence. Earlier, she had conducted an aerial survey of Hingalganj, Sandeshkhali and Dhamakali, which are some of the areas affected by Yaas.

At the press conference, she congratulated the police and civic departments for rescuing more than 15 lakh people and for making sure death tolls remained at a minimum. Families of victims that died in the cyclone shall be compensated from the government’s disaster fund. She asked for the money to be sent directly to the people. 

The chief minister added that tube wells need to be constructed, and ponds need to be cleaned to save marine life. She concluded by asking NGOs for help. 

Suvasis Moitra, a political analyst who was a journalist for many years, said that in the past after the cyclone Amphan has hit the coasts of West Bengal, the prime minister did not keep his word. “The chief minister had a lot of questions regarding the relief fund send by the government last year. The amount that was sent was far lower than what she had demanded. This was also mentioned during the elections,” said Moitra. 

Moitra said that since the BJP lost the state elections in West Bengal, it remains to be seen how the prime minister responds. “See, relief funds can be demanded. But we’ll have to wait and see if the government comes through with it this time,” added Moitra. 

The prime minister’s office said that the union government will deploy an inter-ministerial team to visit the states to assess the full extent of the damage. 2 lakhs shall be provided to the next of kin of the victims who died and 50,000 for the injured. Narendra Modi later tweeted that the entire nation stands in solidarity with those affected by the cyclone.