Cyclone Amphan death toll mounts to 98; Bengal govt announces Rs 6,250 crore package
The death toll left behind by Cyclone Amphan mounted to 98 from 86 on Friday, as more reports poured in from remote villages in the cyclone hit districts of West Bengal, more than a week after the storm battered the state on May 20.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee administration announced a relief and reconstruction package of Rs 6,250 crore, more than half of which has already been released, she said.
“The situation is extremely bad. Villagers don’t even have drinking water. Donate whatever you can. We will accept even one rupee from you. But please don’t donate your discarded clothes. You can even donate books, food and tarpaulin,” Banerjee said with folded hands at a press conference at the state secretariat.
The centre had earlier announced a relief package of Rs 1,000 crore for Bengal after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an aerial survey of the two worst hit districts on May 23. The state too had earlier announced a package of Rs 1,000 crore. The package announced by Banerjee on Friday was over and above these.
More than half a million villagers who have lost their huts and more than two million farmers will be provided grants and assistance from the Rs 6,250 crore package. Rs 250 crore will be used to install tube wells, Rs 200 crore to repair embankments, Rs 200 crore to rebuild roads, Rs 100 crore for those who have lost cattle and poultry and Rs 100 crore for repairing school buildings among others.
“I don’t know whether any other state worked with such lightning speed after any disaster to provide relief. Out of the Rs 6,250 crore, nearly 5000 crore have already been released. Money was directly transferred to the bank account of one lakh villagers on Friday,” Banerjee said.
She also urged samaritans to donate to the state government’s fund and not to provide relief to the villagers directly.
“We know, who have received relief and who are still in need of it. You may miss out if you go there directly. Please donate to us. We will distribute it equally without discrimination,” she added.