Mamata Banerjee furious as embankments repaired after cyclone Amphan collapse
The opposition BJP has accused the government and the ruling TMC of corruption in the repair of the embankments.Updated: Aug 26, 2020, 09:15 IST
Several villages in the coastal districts of West Bengal have been inundated after portions of many river embankments which were repaired after cyclone Amphan in May, collapsed recently.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her displeasure over the matter and has asked senior officials of the district administration to look into the matter. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has already raised allegations of corruption involving ‘cut money’ or bribe in exchange of government welfare scheme.
“Several areas have become inundated as there were breaches in the embankments. In many places the embankments, which were repaired after Amphan, have also collapsed. Those involved in the process should have been more serious. Does this mean that the work was done in a hurry and not given due importance?” Banerjee said in an administrative review meeting on Tuesday.
She, however, added that embankments repaired during the monsoon don’t hold for long because the rivers swell and the high tidal waves hit the embankments with great force.
The ruling Trinamool Congress was on the backfoot after allegations of massive corruption and nepotism had surfaced against many local leaders of the party in the distribution of relief work in the aftermath of cyclone Amphan. Banerjee had to intervene and a few leaders were suspended.
With less than a year remaining for the crucial Bengal assembly elections, Banerjee is not in a mood to face any more allegations. The chief minister has already asked senior officials to look into the matter.
The BJP, however, lashed out at the state government and the ruling TMC with allegations of corruption.
“The Trinamool Congress is synonymous with cut money. Embankments were also repaired after cyclone Bulbul in November 2019. The more the repair work the greater is the amount of cut money that would reach party leaders. Hence they would repair embankments and roads in such a way that they need to be repaired frequently,” said Sayantan Basu, BJP state general secretary.
Around 160 km of river embankments and four kilometres of sea dykes were damaged by cyclone Amphan which had hit Bengal on May 20. Around 100 million people were affected.
The breaches in the embankments have hit the districts of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas badly.
“Particularly hit are the two coastal districts of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas. Many villages have become inundated and the district administration is carrying out relief and rescue measures. But the situation has improved as there was no rain on Tuesday,” said a senior official.
In North 24 Parganas, several villages in Minakha, Hasnabad, Sandeshkhali, Hingalganj and Haroa have been hit because of breaches in the embankments. River water has gushed in and more than 900 people have been shifted to flood shelters, a senior official of the district said.
In South 24 Parganas several villages in at least four blocks – Sagar, Patharprtaima, Namkhana and Kakdwip – were inundated after water gushed into the villages through breached embankments. More than 2,000 people had to be evacuated.
The state government apprehends that more areas could get inundated after the India Meteorological Department’s forecast of heavy rain in till Thursday because of a low pressure developing over the Bay of Bengal.