Calcutta HC directs CAG for audit of distribution of relief materials in aftermath of cyclone Amphan

Alleged nepotism and malpractice by the ruling TMC’s panchayat leaders involved in the distribution of compensation had turned into an issue in poll-bound West Bengal
Residents salvage their belongings from the rubble of a damaged house in the aftermath of cyclone Amphan, in South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, on May 22.(File photo)
Residents salvage their belongings from the rubble of a damaged house in the aftermath of cyclone Amphan, in South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, on May 22.(File photo)
Updated on Dec 01, 2020 04:39 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha

The Calcutta high court on Tuesday directed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to do an audit of the distribution of relief materials and compensation in the aftermath of cyclone Amphan that hit West Bengal in May this year.

Alleged nepotism and malpractice by the ruling Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) panchayat leaders involved in the distribution of compensation had turned into an issue in poll-bound West Bengal.

“A division bench of the high court directed the CAG on Tuesday to do a financial audit and a performance audit of the distribution of relief and compensation after cyclone Amphan and submit a report within three months,” said Shamim Ahmed, the advocate who filed the case on behalf of two farmers’ organisations in south Bengal.

Amphan hit West Bengal on May 20, killing 98 people and damaging more than a million houses and croplands. While the state government had announced a relief of Rs6,250 crore, the Centre announced a relief of Rs1,500 crore.

“The case was filed in August. At least five cases were filed in connection with corruption charges. The high court was hearing all the cases. Earlier, it had asked the state disaster management department to submit a report. The department’s secretary was also asked to remain present in the court,” said Shamim.

Later in the day, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said even though distribution of relief materials after Amphan has had come under the scanner, no audit was done for the PMCares fund set up by the Centre to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am not saying anything against the court. I am just asking as a citizen. Even though questions are being raised against distribution of relief materials and compensation in post-Amphan period, not a single audit has been done to find out where lakhs of crores of rupees are going from PMCares fund. Why such double standards?” she asked.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022