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Bengal relies on spot verifications

Government rejects half of Cyclone Yaas compensation applications as claims fail scrutiny test

Authorities carried out spot verification for transparency

Pranesh Sarkar, Anshuman Phadikar Calcutta, Nandigram(Bengal) Published 02.07.21, 02:34 AM
A team of the East Midnapore district administration carries out a Yaas-damage survey in Nandigram.

A team of the East Midnapore district administration carries out a Yaas-damage survey in Nandigram. Telegraph picture

The Mamata Banerjee government rejected nearly 50 per cent of compensation applications in the wake of Cyclone Yaas as bogus after authorities carried out spot verifications.

“The state received 3,81,774 applications seeking compensation after Yaas through the Duare Tran programme. But 1,86,815 applications have been rejected by block development officers or heads of urban local bodies as applications were not found to be genuine,” said a senior government official.


State government teams verified the claims before handing out dole, a key difference from last year after Amphan.

Sources said that applications were received from 98 blocks spread across eight districts, including North and South 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah, Calcutta, East and West Midnapore and Birbhum, but mostly from the three coastal districts of South and North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore.

In South 24-Parganas, 1,62,586 applications in all were received, of which 75,773 were rejected. In East Midnapore, 1,17,654 applications were received and 72,878 applications rejected. In the district’s Nandigram-I block, a hotspot for fraud allegations last year, due diligence revealed only 2,000 out of 14,000 applications to be genuine. In Egra II, only 52 of the 6,874 submissions found to be genuine.

Sources in the state administration said rejection of applications meant the state government had learnt a lesson from the Amphan compensation controversy of last year. “Back then, each application was treated as genuine and fund allotted against each. But complaints came up against some grassroots Trinamul leaders who claimed money though they were not harmed by Amphan. That’s why this time the government decided to give benefits to only those really affected after verification of claims,” said a source.

During inspection, sources said, officials found many phone numbers on the applications could not be connected. Visits proved many applications were fake as the sites had no sign of devastation. “Applications were rejected when their veracity was not established,” said an official.

“The whole purpose of state teams verifying applications this time was to nip fraudulent claims in the bud. In the aftermath of Amphan last year, reports of malfeasance emerged after doles had been given, and then officials did verifications. I was part of the survey team for Nandigram last year,” said additional district magistrate, East Midnapore, Sudipta Porel.

Applicants who cleared scrutiny will get Yaas doles of Rs 20,000 for full damage and Rs 5,000 for partial. Disbursement of compensation, post-verification, began on Thursday.

“This time, we expect no trouble as the verification process has been carried out properly,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Sources also said that after Amphan, the state had spent more than Rs 8,000 crore to shoulder the burden of compensation.

“This time, precise verification of the applications will reduce the burden on the state exchequer as only genuine claims will be given the dole. No bogus application will be entertained. It will not leave the ruling establishment red-faced,” said a source.

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