Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold the first administrative meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Bashirhat College in South 24-Parganas district on Friday to discuss the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan.
Later, she will conduct an hour-long aerial survey with PM Modi from Rajarhat in North 24-Parganas to Pathar Pratima in South 24-Parganas districts, areas worst affected by the cyclone.
The meeting assumes significance as the West Bengal chief minister has been a strong critic of the Modi government at the Centre. Notably, during Cyclone Bulbul which had hit the state in 2019, she had refused PM Modi’s call to attend a meeting to discuss the calamity.
This is prime minister’s first official trip outside Delhi since the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic was announced. PM Modi agreed to visit West Bengal after CM Mamata requested him to inspect the affected areas and witness the damage caused, which she claimed was to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore.
After West Bengal, PM PM Modi will conduct an aerial survey of cyclone-affected parts in Odisha.
Speaking to mediapersons at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Mamata said, “I am waiting for our prime minister. We will hold an aerial survey of the affected areas. There are states which are governed by different political parties but I think in a federal structure, we should work together and the relationship should be maintained. West Bengal is passing through its worst phase. Cyclone Amphan added more problems at a time when we are already struggling with coronavirus.”
She said that cyclone has claimed the lives of 80 people and over six lakh have been evacuated.
"More than 6 crore people have been directly affected. It is more than a national disaster. The timing and intensity of the cyclone was dangerous. Its radius was 450 km. I have never seen such cyclone in my life.”
After the aerial survey at around 11.30-11.45am the two will hold a review meeting to discuss Amphan and its devastation, Banerjee added.
BJP's state vice president Chandra Bose welcomed Banerjee's gesture and tweeted, “This is great news. Finally, politics is being kept aside and welfare of the people takes priority. I have been voicing the need for this for months as we fight Covid-19."
After her meeting with PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee will be attending the opposition parties’ virtual meet convened by the Congress to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the country.
The meeting will be chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and
nearly 17 opposition parties have agreed to participate in the meeting
which will be held via videoconferencing.