Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in West Bengal on Friday to take stock of the situation in the wake of cyclone AMPHAN, that ravaged several parts of the state as well as Odisha, leaving behind a trail of destruction by uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes and swamping low-lying areas.
The Prime Minister was received by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on his arrival at the Kolkata Airport.
The death toll in West Bengal due to cyclone AMPHAN — said to be one of the worst to form over the Bay of Bengal in decades — has climbed to 76, of which 19 are in Kolkata alone.
The Prime Minister will conduct aerial surveys and take part in review meetings today, where aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed. PM Modi will also visit Odisha in the afternoon.
For the PM’s aerial survey, Central ministers — who hail from Odisha and West Bengal — Dharmendra Pradhan, Babul Supriyo, Pratap Chandra Sarangi and Debasree Chaudhuri will accompany him.
PM Modi is stepping out almost after three months since he announced the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus. His last visit was to Prayagraj and Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh on February 29.
As per reports, PM Modi will fly to Bashirhat in a chopper with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee once he lands in Kolkata.
News of PM Modi’s decision came hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pitched for central assistance and appealed to PM Modi to visit the cyclone-hit areas.
She said the damage caused by the cyclone is more than the coronavirus pandemic and asked the PM to visit the affected districts and help rebuild those areas from scratch.1
Meanwhile on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the entire nation stands with West Bengal and assured “no stone will be left unturned” to help those affected by the devastating cyclone AMPHAN.
“Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy,” he said in a tweet.
“NDRF teams are working in the cyclone-affected parts. Top officials are closely monitoring the situation and also working in close coordination with the West Bengal government. No stone will be left unturned in helping the affected,” the PM said in another tweet.
Meanwhile, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for the family members of each of the deceased.
The cyclonic storm, which made a landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday afternoon caused severe damages in Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas districts and their nearby areas, with a wind speed ranging from 155 to 185 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall.
Cyclone AMPHAN also wreaked havoc in the coastal districts of Odisha as it triggered heavy rainfall, coupled with high-velocity winds while moving towards the West Bengal.