Mamata visits cyclone-hit areas, alleges no relief camp
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday visited cyclone-hit areas and charged the West Bengal government with not opening relief camps and not repairing embankments in Kakdwip and Namkhana areas of the state's South 24 Parganas district.
"Embankments have not been repaired in time and regrettably the state government has not opened any relief centre," Banerjee, who arrived in Namkhana after taking over charge as Railway Minister in Kolkata, told reporters.
"The West Bengal government should formulate a master plan for flood and erosion control measures," Banerjee said while alleging it was 'callous' in tackling the calamity.
Banerjee said she had instructed the zila parishad to ask for her MPLAD fund for opening relief camps.
Pointing out that there was a drinking water crisis in the cyclone-hit areas, she said the zila parishad had been asked by her to take the money from the mid-day meal fund which the Centre would later make up.
Over 400 people were marooned at Pakhiralaya in South 24 Parganas, Banerjee said. Banerjee alleged the embankments had not been repaired in time causing inundation of vast areas of Patharpratima and Namkhana blocks.
Banerjee said eight blocks in the district had been badly ravaged by the cyclone that was accomopanied by heavy rains causing breach in embankments.
"I have asked the zila parishad too to chalk out a master plan to concretise the embankments for effectively dealing with cyclone and river erosion," she said.
Banerjee said she had talked to the Prime Minister's Office and later to the Finance and Home ministries over phone yesterday, seeking deployment of BSF and army in affected areas. "I called for launching airdropping operations in some cyclone-hit areas of North and South 24-parganas districts," she added.
Banerjee also said she had asked the district authorities to trace some crocodiles which had escaped from a breeding centre near Namkhana.
"I asked them to locate the crocodiles and alert the local people."