Rebuild & keep calm: Mamata Banerjee
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday conducted an aerial survey of the cyclone-affected areas of South 24-Parganas and asked officials to undertake relief programmes with utmost urgency while asking them to deal with any anger “calmly”.
“You have to start relief and rehabilitation on a war-footing. The first work should be to ensure safe drinking water. Some people might get angry if they don’t get relief on time. But you have to stay calm as they might have reasons behind their grievances,” the chief minister said during an administrative review meeting at Kakdwip.
Before that, Mamata had made an aerial survey of Namkhana and Bakkhali, two of the most affected areas in the district.
Sources at the meeting said besides water, the chief minister laid stress on rebuilding damaged roads, extending financial support to farmers, setting up homes and restoring electricity. On power, she has set a deadline of 10 days.
“Task forces will be formed under the chairmanship of the district magistrates of the affected districts to monitor the relief and rehabilitation programmes. Ensure all farmers get crop insurance claim within a short period and prepare a plan for alternative farming,” said the chief minister.
Announcing Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those who died in the cyclone, the chief minister said: “Seven people have died and eight more are missing. More than five lakh people have been affected across the state. The government will give Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kind of the deceased…”
The chief minister asked the officials to ensure a trouble-free operation. “Some people might take advantage of the people’s anger but you (officials) should handle such issues calmly and ensure that the situation does not worsen,” an official quoted the chief minister as saying.
Sources said the chief minister warned the officials as she was aware that the BJP was trying to get a foothold in the storm-hit areas — known to be strongholds of Trinamul — ahead of 2021 Assembly elections.
“The BJP might try to use people’s anger in the post-cyclone period to gain a foothold in the area… The chief minister sent the message in advance so that the administration can prepare itself,” said a minister.
Mamata is slated to visit the cyclone-affected areas of North 24-Parganas on Wednesday.
Trip new date
The chief minister has postponed by a week her two-day north Bengal trip that was to start from Tuesday because of Cyclone Bulbul’s devastation. The trip will now begin from November 18.