Kolkata: The very severe Cyclone Yaas has damaged around three lakh houses in several regions of North and south 24 Parganas. Saline water has inundated several agricultural lands and embankments in the Sunderban regions have been breached due to floods. Healthcare workers, block development officers and police representatives are carrying out relief work in several districts.
The state government has announced Duare Tran (relief on doorsteps), a government programme with an initial fund of Rs 1,000 crore, to be distributed as compensation to the people affected due to the cyclone in Gram Panchayat and blocks. The government is taking some time to access damages. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that Duare Tran would start on 3 June and continue till 18 June. The victims must be able to submit their applications within the respective deadline. From 19-30 June, the government will verify all the applications and compensation would be sent directly to the bank account of the victims.
The state government was able to evacuate more than 11 lakh people. Timely evacuation of people has saved many lives, but it has affected the livelihood of people. “More than 100 embankments are destroyed. Flooding has affected agriculture and fisheries heavily,” Subhajit Naskar, a photojournalist, said to The Sunday Guardian.
The cyclone has left a trail of destruction in the coastal belt of Digha and East Medinipur, along with several adjoining beaches. However, it has spared Kolkata, but a large part of North and South 24 Parganas is flooded.
“Some of the worst affected regions are Digha, Mondarmoni, Haldia, Khejuri, Nandigram. Many other regions of south and north 24 Parganas such as Namkhana, Gosaba, Raidighi, Basanti, Sandeshkhali, Hingalganj have also been affected. Since the rescue operation is over, we need to look for a solution such as the reconstruction of embankments,” Kanti Ganguli, Indian Politician, CPI(M), told this newspaper.
Asked about the rescue operation, a resident of Hingalganj Block, Uttar Mamudpur Gram, North 24 Paraganas, Hamila Khatun, said, “I have heard that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has reached the BDO office. The population of our village is around 3,500-4,000. Since the rescue team has not been able to evacuate us, we have taken shelter in nearby madrasas, mosques, temples, and primary schools. Also, we have constructed some cyclone shelter for ourselves.”
Another resident from Kachrapara, Tarak Chandra Pal, said: “Rangabelia, Uttarpara in Gosaba block of South 24 Paraganas is completely flooded. The coastal area of East Medinipur, including Digha, is flooded. This year too, many volunteers have spontaneously carried out relief works.”
A Kolkata resident, Subhadeep De, had visited Digha. He said that the place where they were staying was a little higher so they didn’t face many issues. However, strong wind was blowing and they had power outrage since last night.
As per sources, around 700 people were evacuated from Digha suburban area. The cyclone centre was reported to be 3 km from Old Digha and several safe houses were constructed nearby.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kalaikunda and apprised him of the post cyclonic situation in West Bengal. As per sources, she and the chief secretary arrived late by 30 minutes to meet PM Modi, who has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to kin of deceased and Rs 50,000 to the cyclone victims.
She urged the Indian Medical Association to send some doctors to the severely affected districts. Gramin Swasthya Parisevaks have also been urged to visit the devastated zones.