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November 14, 2019

Don’t know what the centre will do, we will do as much as possible: Didi

Don’t know what the centre will do, we will do as much as possible: Didi

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today interacted with the press after supervising the relief and rehabilitation activities undertaken for those affected by Cyclone Bulbul.

Highlights of the chief minister’s comments:

Today’s meeting involved only the concerned district magistrates, chief secretary and additional chief secretary. Monitoring and coordination for relief activities were discussed.

The terrible state of the country’s economy, a result of the Centre’s wrong policies, has affected the States with respect to the 42 per cent of the Centre’s yearly income that it shares among the States. This will be difficult to do this time. As a result we are staring at a loss of Rs 640 crore. Other States will be affected severely as well.

Our State’s revenue, on the other hand, has gone up – from January to October 2019 it was Rs 34,888 crore, while for the same period in 2018, the revenue was Rs 33,749 crore. Besides, the Centre owes us Rs 17,000 crore.

On top of that, there was this big cyclone that damaged over 15 lakh hectares of cropland. As a result, a huge amount of cultivated paddy, ready to be harvested, has been destroyed.

Five lakh houses have been flattened. Six lakh people have been affected.

Among the affected are many Madhyamik examinees. Therefore we have decided to postpone the Madhyamik examination in those areas by seven days.

We have decided to distribute 50 lakh water pouches through the Public Health Engineering Department; 10 lakh have already been given out.

Of the 3,173 uprooted electric poles, 3,117 have been replaced. Only a few are left to be installed in the remote areas of Sandeshkhali, Gosaba, Hasnabad, Hingalganj, Patharpratima and Sagardighi blocks. This work would be completed after the water level goes completely down in these areas.

We are at least relieved that we have been able to save 1.75 lakh lives. A total of nine lives have been lost – five in North 24 Parganas, three in South 24 Parganas and one in Purba Medinipur.

A huge quantity of paddy has been destroyed. The largest quantity of betel leaf plants has been lost in South 24 Parganas. The two Medinipurs have faced the brunt of the storm too.

We have already made arrangements for giving each of the affected families 12kg rice, potatoes, pulses and 5 litres of kerosene. They would be given hurricane lamps too; we have already procured 40 lakh hurricane lamps.

We will be distributing six lakh kits among the affected people – each kit will have utensils, a stove, tea, rice, pulses, baby food, blankets, etc. we need seven to eight days to start distributing these kits.

We are planning how to salvage whatever cultivated paddy is left in the fields and shifting them to godowns.

For works like draining out water from fields, removing uprooted trees from ponds and fields, setting up electric poles, etc. we are employing people under the 100 Days’ Work Scheme.

A lot of work has been done, but as five blocks are still inundated, we are not being able to complete a lot of work. The Centre should come forward to help us.

I request those who are indulging in petty politics with respect to our relief and rehabilitation efforts to refrain from it – they should instead help the affected people. I also request those breaking statues to not indulge in such things.

I am not sure how much the Centre will help, we will do as much as possible. We don’t want to do politics with everything. If we had wanted, we too could have done a lot of politics.

I want to say also that some people in constitutional posts are acting like BJP mouthpieces.