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Bengal Minister Slams Kolkata Mayor for Not Consulting Veterans Post Cyclone, Hakim Says Time to Work

Cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc on Kolkata and large parts of southern Bengal, uprooting thousands of trees.

Cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc on Kolkata and large parts of southern Bengal, uprooting thousands of trees.

Minister Sadhan Pandey said that as no discussions were held with 'experienced' party leaders, he has decided to start rebuilding work in affected areas on his own.

A senior minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet has hit out at the Kolkata Mayor for not seeking suggestions of party veterans and ‘experienced ministers’ while dealing with the destruction caused by the super cylone Amphan last week.

State Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pandey said the Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Firhad Hakim, should have convened a meeting of senior party functionaries after the cyclone ravaged the metropolis.

“It is unfortunate that the Kolkata mayor didn’t seek suggestions and advice of senior party leaders and experienced MLAs. He should have call a meeting to discuss how to rebuild Kolkata and seek our suggestions on the matter,” said Pandey.

Pandey said that as no collective effort is not in place, he has decided to start rebuilding work in affected areas in his constituency on his own. “It is immaterial whether I am happy or not. What matters is that people are suffering. Since, he (mayor) has not invited senior party MLAs and leaders for suggestions, I have decided to work alone for my people.”

Hakim, however, said Pandey should have reached out to him directly if he had any suggestion on the matter.

“It is not the time for me to consult each and every individual in this crisis. They should be on the streets to resolve issues of the people rather than attending closed-door meetings. I think that such times of devastation, I should be out solving people’s problems instead of conducting meetings.”

“I would rather appreciate people like her (pointing towards a sweeper) who is not sitting in a chamber for meetings, but working hard to clear the roads of Kolkata,” a visibly annoyed Firhad Hakim said.

With the combined power of three hurricanes, Cyclone Amphan devastated large parts of Kolkata and adjoining districts of South and North 24-Parganas on May 20.

Though electricity and essential services have largely been restored in Kolkata and the municipal towns, people are still complaining about irregular drinking water supply.

Locals staged protests in several of the city demanding immediate restoration of drinking water supply and spoke out against the administration’s alleged lapse in restoring normalcy in the metropolis.

Hakim, however, said water supply has been restored in areas under KMC. When told that due to lack of electricity in some areas, water supply has been badly affected, the mayor said, “Restoring electricity is not my responsibility. There are departments who are looking into the crisis.”

Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had requested people to cooperate with the state government in normalising situation. So far the death toll due to Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal has risen to 86.