Central team visits cyclone-hit areas of South 24 Parganas

Kolkata: A Central team on Saturday visited some cyclone-affected area of South 24 Parganas district and interacted with villagers, to assess the extent of damages caused by cyclone Amphan.

The team went around some parts of Katandighi-Raidighi area and heard from the villagers about the availability of relief materials and loss of agriculture and property.

The officials, part of the seven-member team visiting different cyclone-affected parts of North and South 24 Parganas districts since Friday, did not speak to reporters .

“Please ensure we get more tarpaulin. We had been living in very difficult situations. Scores of houses were ravaged and agricultural land destroyed,” a villager told the team members in broken Hindi.

The Central officials were accompanied by local block development officer and panchayat members.

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“They did not go into the interiors to see the real picture. Their convoy stopped on the highway and they got down, went around adjacent areas briefly and went back. They did not go to a nearby place where the mud embankment had been breached by water and the entire area is flooded. What is the objective of such a visit,” said Barun Das, a local villager.

The seven-member team, headed by Anuj Sharma, joint secretary (cyber and information security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, on Friday visited Patharpratima in South 24 Parganas and Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas in two groups.

The team arrived in Kolkata on Thursday evening on a three-day visit to West Bengal.

The team that had visited North 24 Parganas on Friday faced protestors standing on both sides of the roads in Minakha and Malancha blocks with placards which said they were not getting enough relief.

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The teams toured several devastated villages and embankments of Patharpratima and Sandeshkhali blocks on Friday.

They also visited Namkhana in South 24 Parganas and Hingalganj and Basirhat in North 24 Parganas and spoke to locals and inquired about their problems, district officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district along with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on May 22.

After his visit to the areas ravaged by the extremely severe cyclone of May 20 Modi announced an advance relief of Rs 1,000 crore, which has been released by the Centre to the state.

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“We are taking note of every detail, we spoke to the locals. Whatever we have to say we will mention in our report,” a member of the central team had told newsmen on Friday.

The Central team will meet chief secretary Rajiva Sinha and other senior officials of the state government and slated to meet opposition BJP, Congress, CPI(M) leaders before leaving for Delhi, an official said.

The cyclone had left 98 people dead and caused large- scale destruction to property in several districts of south Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that the state suffered losses of Rs 1 lakh crore due to the cyclone.

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