With the flood situation in West Bengal deteriorating and the death toll reaching 83, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday decided to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek central funds for the flood-ravaged state.
“I am going to New Delhi on August 11 and August 12, 2015. I have decided to seek time for appointment with the prime minister. I will discuss with him for grant of central disaster management fund for the purpose of flood relief in the state,” the chief minister told reporters at the state secretariat of Nabanna in Kolkata on Tuesday.
She also said that during her meeting with the prime minister, she would also rake up the issue of release of excessive water by the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) that has added to the misery of the state.
“Today I also called up the Union power minister Piyush Goel. I told him quite strongly that had DVC not resorted to indiscriminate water release at a time, the damage for West Bengal would not have been much. DVC should immediate go for modernisations and conduct proper dredging of its dams and barrages, so that they do not have to release water indiscriminately. DVC has its headquarters in West Bengal. It does its business in Bengal. And when it comes to water release it affects Bengal only,” the chief minister said.
The death toll due to flood rose to 83 from 69 in just 24 hours as water released by the various dams and barrages inundated fresh areas in various districts in southern Bengal.
More than 61 lakh people across 53 municipalities and 16,300 villages across 12 districts have been affected by the floods. Around seven lakh hectares of agricultural land have been inundated. Communication and accessibility to several parts of the state remain badly affected.
Districts like Murshidabad, Burdwan, Hooghly, Birbhum, West Midnapore and others remained critical with water level yet to recede. In many areas, villagers complained of lack of relief work. Local leaders of the ruling party reportedly vandalized Kshrishnanagar block 2 and heckled a BDO demanding relief.
In Roshulpur, Murshidabad villagers blocked road complaining that no relief material has reached them. Villagers at various parts of West Midnapore too expressed their in this regard.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the state government is incapable of tackling flood situation and to hide its inability that the chief minister is making tall promises.
Meanwhile, Mamata said that the state government has announced compensation of Rs 4,00,000 for the family of the deceased and Rs 2,00,000 for those who have been severely injured. Apart from this, a onetime compensation of Rs 12,000 will be provided to those who had to remain in hospitals for more than seven days, and Rs 4,000 for those hospitalized for less than seven days.
“The district magistrates have been asked to make a detailed survey following which a notification for compensation will be made by August 18, 2015. After that the state government will start distributing compensation for those affected,” the chief minister said.