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Protesters block Babul Supriyo’s way

Union minister was stopped allegedly by TMC supporters while on way to visit cyclone-hit people of Namkhana.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Union minister of state for forest and environment Babul Supriyo today met Cyclone Bulbul-affected people at Namkhana in South 24 Parganas even as Trinamul Congress supporters tried to stop him, and said many of them were yet to get relief materials from the state administration.

After arriving at Namkhana, Supriyo faced massive protests and was asked to go back by a group of people allegedly belonging to the ruling party.

Supriyo, on Tuesday said that he had been asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the storm-affected areas in West Bengal and claimed that the agitators were activists from the ruling Trinamul Congress.

“I knew that I had to face the TMC supporters here. And they would obstruct me from meeting the affected persons. The agitators were all TMC activists,” he said.

Shortly after he reached Namkhana, one of the worst affected places in the state, protesters stopped his convoy and showed him black flags. The Union minister, despite clarifying that he was in the district to look into the groundlevel situation, was asked to go back by the protesters, who waved black flags when Supriyo got down to speak to them.

The minister also said that he wanted to speak to the agitators and told them that he was ready to listen to their grievances but they refused to talk with him and asked him to leave the place immediately. Later, police cleared the obstruction and Supriyo headed towards Frazergunge on a motorcycle.

The Union minister was scheduled to reach the spot by a chopper today but later it was cancelled and he eventually came by car. Supriyo later said that he spoke to the Bulbul-affected people of Frazergunge.

“The people here are not getting any food or help from the government after the devastating storm wreaked havoc. I will write a report to the Prime Minister soon regarding the current condition of the villagers. The TMC supporters were trying to divert attention from the actual ground situation,” he said.

BJP state president and MP Dilip Ghosh said the Prime Minister can send any minister as his representative to visit the affected areas. Trinamul is playing politics by obstructing his (Supriyo’s) movement.

“Prime Minister took the right step as chief minister Mamata Banerjee is not providing any information regarding the cyclone Bulbulto the Centre. Banerjee did not even pick up the Prime Minister’s phone call. She is also giving contradictory statements regarding the actual number of affected persons,” said Mr Ghosh.