The West Bengal government has rejected as "bogus" almost 50 per cent of the applications that were filed seeking compensation for the damage caused by cyclone Yaas, following spot verification by district authorities, a senior official said on Sunday. The government had last month received at least 3,81,774 applications at the camps set up under its Duare Tran (relief at doorstep) programme, he said.
"After due verification of all applications, done between June 18 and 30, at least 1,86,815 were rejected – mainly by block development officers or heads of urban local bodies – as they were found to be fake," the official said. Cyclone Yaas, which struck the state and neighbouring Odisha in May, had left behind a trail of destruction, especially in the coastal regions.
Of the 1,62,586 applications filed in South 24 Parganas district, 75,773 were rejected. In Purba Midnapore, as many as 1,17,654 submissions were made, 72,878 of which were binned.
"We found out that 12,000 of the 14,000 applications filed from Nandigram-I block were bogus. In Egra II, only 52 of 6,874 submissions were found to be genuine," he added. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while launching the programme in May, had asked those affected by Yaas to personally apply in writing and not in bulk as she sought to avoid any controversy similar to the one that had erupted during distribution of relief after cyclone Amphan.
According to the officer, the government realised that it should have thoroughly cross-checked the applications after cyclone Amphan instead of "treating them all as authentic". "This time, the administration verified every claim before giving its approval," he said, adding that the genuine claimants have started receiving compensation from July 1.
Banerjee earlier said that around 2.21 lakh hectare of crops and 71,560 hectare of horticulture have been destroyed in Bengal by cyclone Yaas. She also said that the state has incurred a total loss of more than Rs 20,000 crore due to the calamity.
According to a state government notification, someone whose agricultural land has suffered damaged by Yaas would get anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 25,000. Any affected farmer cultivating betel leaf and a person who lost his cattle in the calamity are entitled to a compensation of Rs 5,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively.
The notification further said that the state would pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 for partially damaged mud houses and Rs 20,000 for fully damaged ones.