Basirhat (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after conducting an aerial survey of cyclone 'Bulbul'-hit areas in North 24 Parganas, said on Wednesday that the loss incurred by the state due to the natural calamity might go up to Rs 50,000 crore.
Banerjee handed over a cheque of Rs 2.4 lakh each to the family members of five people from the district who lost their lives in the calamity.
Taking note of the fact that at least 15 lakh hectares of agricultural land was damaged due to the storm, she said the affected farmers would get all help from her government.
"Going by what I have seen, I think the cyclone has led to massive destruction. By massive, I mean really massive... People sitting in Kolkata and other parts of the state will be not able to realise the degree of devastation.
"If I'm not wrong, I think there has been a loss of Rs 50,000 crore," the chief minister said at an administrative review meeting here following the reconnaissance.
Those who have enrolled their names for the state government's crop insurance scheme would get 100 per cent coverage for their loss, she asserted.
"A total of 15 lakh hectares of agricultural land has been damaged. The entire paddy cultivation has been ruined. I assure the farmers of all form of support from our government.
The farmers under the state's crop insurance policy will get hundred per cent coverage," Banerjee said. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo further said that the state government would soon announce a special package for the affected farmers.
At least nine people have lost their lives in the calamity - five from North 24 Parganas, three from South 24 Parganas and one from Purba Midnapore - while seven fishermen were still missing, Banerjee said during the meeting.
According to the chief minister, six lakh people have been affected and over five lakh houses damaged due to the cyclone, which made landfall late on Saturday between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh.
The CM gave assurances to rebuild damaged houses under her government's 'Banglar Bari' scheme. She also announced one hurricane lamp and five litres of kerosene for each affected family in the state. Banejee directed the education department to provide books to schoolchildren appearing for board examinations in the storm-hit areas.
On Monday, the chief minister had surveyed the storm- affected areas of Kakdwip, Namkhana and Bakhkhali in South 24 Parganas. She had urged people to "stay positive" and stand beside those affected by the cyclone.