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PM Announces Rs 1,500 Cr Relief Package for Bengal & Odisha after Cyclone Amphan Devastation

Residents salvage their belongings from the rubble of a damaged house in Bengal's South 24 Parganas district on Friday. (Reuters)

Residents salvage their belongings from the rubble of a damaged house in Bengal's South 24 Parganas district on Friday. (Reuters)

Two days after the worst cyclone in years devastated the two states, PM Narendra Modi reviewed the situation with chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik.

  • News18.com New Delhi
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 11:19 PM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced an interim assistance of Rs 1,500 crore for West Bengal and Odisha after reviewing the situation caused by cyclone 'Amphan' that claimed 80 lives, lay waste to standing crops in thousands of hectares, and ruined infrastructure.

Two days after the worst cyclone in years devastated the two states, Modi reviewed the situation with chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik. Modi announced an interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for West Bengal, already battling a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, besides an influx of migrant labourers, after a review meeting with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Banerjee, and the state's top officials.

Banerjee, however, insisted that the state had suffered losses of over Rs 1 lakh crore for which it needed to be compensated.

Modi undertook an aerial survey of the vast swamp that many districts have turned into after the cyclone dumped copious rain on Wednesday and the accompanying winds flattened homes, bludgeoned massive trees to the ground like matchsticks, and plunged city after city into darkness.

After undertaking an aerial survey of the affected areas with Dhankhar and Banerjee and holding a review meeting, Modi announced an interim relief of Rs 1,000 crore for the state where 80 people have so far lost their lives in the carnage wrought by the cyclone.

Banerjee, however, insisted that the damage was "much more than a national disaster" and said the state had suffered losses of no less then Rs 1 lakh crore.

Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of each of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured. He later flew down to Odisha where he announced a financial assistance of another Rs 500 crore after making an aerial survey of the affected districts with Governor Ganeshi Lal and Patnaik.

Modi said further assistance will be provided for long-term rehabilitation measures after getting a detailed report from the state government.

The leaders undertook an aerial survey of several coastal districts like Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj for about 90 minutes. Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi were among those present at the review meeting Modi held with Patnaik and others at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.

Modi complimented both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government of West Bengal and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) dispensation in Odisha for squaring up to the challenge posed by the devastation that the cyclone had caused.

Large parts of Kolkata were still plunged into darkness while mobile internet services played hide and seek. The turbulence caused by the cyclone has compounded the worries for the two states where the disease is spreading its tentacles fast, fuelled by the return home of lakhs of migrant workers.

"Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic requires social distancing, whereas battling the cyclone entails moving people to safer places," Modi said, acknowledging the fact that the presence of a large number of people in relief shelters in the aftermath of the cyclone could defeat government's attempts at containing the nightmare.

(With inputs from PTI)

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