‘I can apologise or you can cut off my head’: Mamata Banerjee on protests over Cyclone Amphan response
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged people in areas hit by Cyclone Amphan to have patience as the administration is working tirelessly to restore water and power supply. She maded the remarks after protests erupted in state capital Kolkata and other cyclone-hit areas.
“This is huge disaster. Our teams are working very seriously. At least 1,000 teams are working in the state. Along with them local youths are also working,” she said on Saturday evening.
“The police, besides maintaining lockdown and law and order, are also helping in the restoration process,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat.
Cyclone Amphan has claimed 86 lives in West Bengal and caused havoc in at least 14 districts, mainly in South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.
Many areas in south Kolkata are without power since the cyclone ravaged the state. So, there were protests in many parts of the city - from Behala in the south to Belgharia in north Kolkata. The protests continued for the second consecutive day on Saturday. The protesters, many of whom were women, said they are under extreme hardship as there was no electricity and water for the past three days and repeated calls to power utilities CESC and WBSEDCL went unanswered.
In a few places, clashes between the police and angry protesters were also reported.
When asked about the situation of electricity in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “I know you are inconvenienced, I can apologise to you, or you can cut off my head. We are also human, we are working very hard. We are staying awake all night. 1 crore people are homeless. How are those people enduring who have no drinking water?” she said.
People should understand the ground reality and have patience, the chief minister said.
“I have called up the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) at least 10 times. Even I do not have proper phone network... I cannot watch television at home,” Banerjee said.
Scores of Army personnel were deployed in Kolkata and neighbouring districts of West Bengal on Saturday to help the authorities restore normalcy in the wake of the protests.
The West Bengal government had asked the Centre to deply Army in the state for restoration of essential infrastructure and services in the wake of the destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan.
Five columns of the Army were deployed in different parts of the city and North and South 24 Parganas districts - the three worst-hit districts of the state.
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