PM Modi arrives in Kolkata for aerial survey of damage
KOLKATA (TIP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in West Bengal to take stock of the damage due to Cyclone Amphan in the state which left 80 dead and thousands homeless. This is the prime minister’s first visit outside Delhi after coronavirus lockdown was imposed on the midnight of March 24.
After an aerial survey of affected areas in Bengal, PM Modi will visit Odisha.
Cyclone Amphan that tore into West Bengal killed 80 people and “completely devastated” two districts as Kolkata and several parts of the state wore a battered look on Thursday, May 21, a day after the storm left thousands of people homeless, washed away bridges and swamped low-lying areas.
The fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years destroyed mud houses and crops, and uprooted trees and electricity poles. It also wreaked havoc in Odisha, damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts. Odisha Government officials estimated it had affected around 44.8 lakh people in the state.
“So far as per the reports we have received, 80 people have died in the state due to Cyclone Amphan. Two districts — North and South 24 Parganas — are completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch. I would urge the Central Government to extend all help to the state,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters after conducting a review meeting with officials.
“The restoration work will start soon. Large parts of North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata are facing a massive power cut since last evening. Even telephone and mobile connections are down,” she said, announcing a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for the next of kin of each of the deceased.
Besides North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata, the districts of East Midnapore and Howrah were the worst hit as portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in several places.
In Kolkata, hundreds of cars were overturned by the strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph. Large parts of Kolkata and other affected districts went without power as felled trees and electricity poles were blocking key arterial roads and intersections. Mobile and Internet services were also disrupted as the fierce cyclone had damaged several communication towers.
Residents recalled “living through hell” for six hours as the winds howled incessantly. Windows buckled from the pressure of the storm, cars floated on waterlogged roads, bumping against each other. Parts of air conditioners were flying around like missiles
Telecom in tatters
In Kolkata, hundreds of cars were overturned by strong winds with speeds up to 125 kmph. The fierce cyclone felled trees and electricity poles, blocking key roads. Mobile and Internet services were disrupted as 1,000 mobile towers across Bengal were destroyed.
Shah speaks to CMs
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday, May 21 spoke with Chief Ministers of Odisha and West Bengal — Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee — and assured them of all possible help.