Mamata seeks Rs.20,000 crore package for Digha and Sunderbans development after devastation caused by Cyclone Yaas

Published : May 28, 2021 22:14 IST

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inspecting the cyclone damage in Digha, on May 28 Photo: PTI

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked the Centre for a total package of Rs.20,000 crore for development of Digha and the Sunderbans after the devastation caused by Cyclone Yaas in the coastal belt of West Bengal. “So far we have reports of losses worth around Rs.20,000 crore. We have also asked for a Rs.10,000 crore package for Digha Development and another Rs.10,000 crore for Sunderbans development. We will probably get nothing, but still we have placed these demands to the Prime Minister,” said Mamata.

Although Mamata did not attend the review meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in West Bengal on May 28, she met the Prime Minister at Kalaikunda in Paschim Medinipur, when the latter arrived in the State following his survey of the cyclone devastation in Odisha. Mamata excused herself from the meeting after submitting the preliminary reports of the cyclone damage, saying she was scheduled to visit the other cyclone-affected regions in the State. Mamata said: “I told the Prime Minister that since you wanted to meet me, I have come a long distance, and now after meeting you and submitting the report to you, I will have to go to Digha as I am supposed to be there. So with your permission, I will leave.” Mamata had conducted an aerial survey of the cyclone-affected regions in the state.

A press release from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) stated: “Shri Modi announced a financial assistance of Rs.1,000 crore for immediate relief activities. Rs.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.”

Mamata’s absence from the Prime Minister’s review meeting sparked off a new round of political acrimony with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar tweeting: “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.”

The ‘very severe’ cyclone Yaas wreaked havoc in the coastal belt of Bengal when it made landfall in nearby Balasore in Odisha. According to preliminary estimates by the government, more than 1 crore people have been affected, over three lakh homes have been destroyed and more than 1.6 lakh hectares of land has gone under water. The full-moon tide worsened the situation by causing widespread flooding.