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WB Govt Mounting Pressure on CESC to Restore Power in Kolkata, Its Neighbourhood: Mayor

File photo: Men remove a fallen electricity pole from a road after cyclone Amphan made its landfall in South 24 Parganas district on West Bengal on Thursday. (Reuters)

File photo: Men remove a fallen electricity pole from a road after cyclone Amphan made its landfall in South 24 Parganas district on West Bengal on Thursday. (Reuters)

Protests have been raging on in several parts of the city, where the residents claimed that they have been going without power and water supply for the last five days.

Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim on Monday said the state government is mounting pressure on private power utility CESC for increasing its pace of work to restore electricity at all corners of the city, which was left in shambles after Cyclone Amphan struck on May 20.

The private power utility, however, insisted that it has "completed 95 per cent of the work", and electricity has been restored in most parts of Kolkata and its neighbourhood.

Protests have been raging on in several parts of the city, where the residents claimed that they have been going without power and water supply for the last five days.

Hakim, who is also the state urban development minister, said the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is doing its best to bring the city back on its foot by clearing roads and cleaning drains.

"The chief minister and the chief secretary are constantly mounting pressure on the CESC to expedite work. Enough is enough. I am requesting the CESC with folded hands to increase its manpower and finish the pending work," he said.

Noting that the CESC has given assurances that it would take measures to complete the remaining work in a day or two, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader said, "I hope the company lives up to its word."

Asked about the allegations of incompetence and disorganisation levelled by former KMC mayor and CPI(M) leader Bikash Bhattacharya, he said the city has not experienced a storm this severe in a long time, and his predecessors have never handled a crisis of this magnitude.

"Never in the past, 5,500 trees fell in a matter of few hours. He (Bhattacharya) is talking about (cyclone) 'Aila'. How many trees fell during 'Aila'? The KMC, with its dedicated workforce, is working round the clock to remove the trunks and foliage and clear the roads. It has 500 electric saws and 200 trucks for cutting the felled trees and transporting the wreckage. What we need is more dumpers.

"We are facing an unprecedented situation, but we are delivering.... Most of the major roads have been thrown open for vehicular movement," Hakim said.

The minister urged his political opponents to refrain from "indulging in politics" at this hour of crisis.

"I will request all critics to stop bickering and come forward to help people. You will find enough chances to criticise me during election campaigns, but this is not the time," he said.

Underlining the fact that the city has lost a significant portion of its green cover, Hakim said a meeting would be held with forest officials on May 30 to discuss ways to make up for the loss.

"Many old trees, some over 100 years of age, were uprooted during this storm. We have to follow a systematic policy while planting trees in the future, but on the face of such high-velocity wind, you cannot prevent trees from falling," he said.