The South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal on Thursday witnessed a near-stampede like situation as thousands of people queued up in front of a local BDOs office to submit documents for Amphan relief. A few villagers were injured in the melee.
The incident took place in Kultali, one of the worst-hit areas by the cyclone Amphan, as villagers lined up since early morning in front of the Block Development Officer’s office, without face masks and flouting physical distancing guidelines. They were also seen fighting for their turns.
There was complete chaos as people made a dash for the counters at around 10 a.m. when the gates of the BDO office were finally thrown open. Local sources said that there were hardly any police personnel to maintain the line at the BDO office.
Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked all the district administrations to prepare a list of villagers who have been affected by the cyclone, following widespread protests in various districts over distribution of compensation packages.
State Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mallick, however, dubbed the chaos as a ‘BJP-sponsored incident’.
Meanwhile, state BJP President Dilip Ghosh said that people have lost faith in the government. “Many genuine names went missing in the list owing to corruption. So they were confused. One day they are hearing they need to submit papers with the panchayat and the next day they come to know that they need to submit the documents with the BDO. This is what happens when the system is not right,” said Ghosh.