Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced an emergency financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for West Bengal after conducting an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan that has killed at least 80 people in the state.
Modi, accompanied by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on the helicopter, assured of Centre's full support for Bengal and said the help will continue to get the state back on its feet.
"Rs 1,000 crore advance assurance will be given to West Bengal," Modi said at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, after the aerial survey.
"All aspects relating to rehabilitation, reconstruction will be addressed. We all want West Bengal to move ahead. The centre will always stand with West Bengal in these testing times. We will work together to ensure that Bengal stands on its feet again," he said.
Meanwhile, Banerjee, at a press conference held after Modi left to survey damage in neighbouring Odisha, however, said that while the PM announced Rs 1000 crore for the relief efforts, he did not clarify whether it'll be advance or the package.
"He said he'll decide later on it, but he said it may be advance also. I said, 'whatever you will give you decide, we'll give you details'," Banerjee told the media. "If they (Centre) give some money to us, we can work," she said.
Banerjee, who had received Modi at the Kolkata airport, said she told the PM to release at least part of the state’s Rs 53,000 crore dues.
“I told PM that we'll get Rs 53,000 Cr from central govt regarding food subsidy, social schemes & central schemes wherever our money is there. So I said you try to give some money to us so that we can work in this crisis,” she added.
According to the CM, Bengal has suffered losses of more than Rs 1 lakh crore due to super cyclonic storm 'Amphan', which has left thousands homeless in the state.
She said that there is a need to work together at this hour of crisis. "Most of the areas we surveyed were totally ravaged. I have briefed the prime minister in detail about the post-cyclone situation in the state," she told reporters at the airport after seeing off Modi.
The chief minister said she showed Modi some photographs capturing the havoc caused by 'Amphan' in Kolkata.
Cyclone Amphan is the strongest to hit the region in nearly two decades. It has battered several parts of the state, washing away bridges and swamping low-lying areas.
Large-scale damage to public and private property was reported from North and South 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly districts.
(With inputs from PTI)