The Mamata Banerjee government on Saturday pegged losses inflicted by Cyclone Bulbul in three coastal districts at Rs 23,811 crore, doing so in an assessment handed over to central teams that visited the storm-ravaged areas.
The government urged the teams, which visited North and South 24-Parganas on Friday, to submit reports soon so that the state can secure central aid. East Midnapore is the third affected district.
The papers with the assessment were handed over during a meet at Nabanna between the Centre’s representatives and top state officials, including chief secretary Rajiva Sinha and disaster management secretary Dushyant Nariala.
“Now the teams will prepare their reports and submit them to the Centre,” said a senior state official.
The Centre’s assistance for rehabilitation work will depend mainly on the assessment of the central teams, which carried out a survey of the affected areas and spoke to the people.
According to the assessment handed over to the central teams, crops on nearly 15 lakh hectares have been ruined. Over 5.17 lakh houses were damaged in the three coastal districts.
“The cyclone has damaged the electrical installations in the affected areas. The state pegged the loss in the power sector at Rs 597 crore. The assessment includes expenditure on 6.2 lakh water pouches and 4.35 lakh tarpaulins distributed among the affected,” said an official.
The state government had asked field officers of various departments to visit the affected areas before submitting their assessment of losses to ensure that the reports were not exaggerated. “The reports are based on field reports, so there is a little chance that they would be far from reality,” said an official.
However, a section of officials said the state should have ensured that a proper report on the losses was submitted as that increases the chance of getting required funds for rehabilitation projects, the officials added.
“It appears that the figure of Rs 23,811 crore is too high. The state should have prepared a separate report on agricultural lossed as there is a scope for farmers getting covered under crop insurance schemes. If a farmer is not included in such a scheme, it is the state’s responsibility,” said an official.
Senior bureaucrats recalled that the Centre had sanctioned Rs 5,000 crore to rebuild the damaged river embankments in the Sunderbans after Cyclone Aila in 2009.