Bengal has incurred losses amounting to Rs 23,811 crore due to cyclone Bulbul that had lashed the state last week. This was reported by the state government to the Central team that visited the cyclone-affected areas of the state. Headed by Mr Krishna Bahadur Singh, joint secretary of the Union home ministry, the nine-member team held a meeting with chief secretary Rajiva Sinha, disaster management secretary Dushyant Nariyal and other senior bureaucrats at the state secretariat Nabanna this morning.
At the meeting, the state government submitted a comprehensive report on the impact of the cyclone that had claimed nine lives and crores worth of property. Representatives of the central team had made ground visits and conducted aerial surveys of the areas, besides meeting district officials. “We have gathered details of the devastation caused by the cyclone and got more inputs from the state government today (Saturday). The overall assessment of the damage cannot be discussed now. We will submit our report to the Centre soon,” a Central team member said.
Chief minister had earlier stated that the loss due to Bulbul might be Rs 50,000 crore but field officers who were deployed for conducting the survey has found the losses to come to slightly less than half that amount. The state government has pegged a total loss of Rs 23,811 crore in its report, said an official. The report detailing the quantum of damage and cost was submitted by the state government to the Central team.
“We are hopeful that the Centre would consider our situation and provide the necessary financial assistance which would help in undertaking the relief work in a better manner,” said the official. While addressing a press conference on Thursday, Miss Banerjee had said expressed her doubt over whether the Centre would provide financial assistance as assured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier.
Mr Modi, who had lauded the state’s efforts in handling the situation after the cyclone had assured all necessary assistance. Officials, however, rued that the Centre had failed to provide relief funds which the state had sought for 11 flood-affected districts of the state in 2017. The chief minister had then demanded a Central government package for her flood-hit state, on the lines of the grants given to BJP-ruled Assam and Gujarat but no such thing was given to the state government.
According to the state government’s report, around 35 lakh people have been affected and 5,17,535 houses damaged due to the cyclone. Laying out the sector-wise losses, the state government has reported that agricultural land spanning to 14,89,924 hectares were completely damaged resulting in loss of standing crops in North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and East and West Midnapore. Apart from cultivation of paddy and betel, cultivation of potatoes, vegetables and pulses was affected.
The loss in the power sector had been pegged at Rs 597 crore. Deliberating on the relief and rehabilitation work that was carried out by the government, an official said adding that 4,35,000 tarpaulin and 6.2 lakh drinking water pouches have been distributed by Public Health Engineering department. Gosaba and Rongbelia in South 24-Parganas are providing water in 12 affected areas through mobile vans, said the official. Families of the nine persons killed in the cyclone were given cheques of Rs 2.4 lakh each.