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Haven't received a penny from Centre for Bulbul, says Mamata

Havent received a penny from Centre for Bulbul, says Mamata

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in the Assembly on Monday that the state was yet to receive financial assistance from the Centre for cyclone Bulbul.

"We have given an estimate of more than Rs 23,000 crore for the damages to a central team that visited three coastal districts — North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore. They had reviewed the extent of loss but, so far, not a single penny has been sanctioned by the Central government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted about helping the state. The Home Minister had also tweeted about the issue. Let us hope for the best," Banerjee said in response to a query from Trinamool Congress MLA Gita Rani Bhuniya during the Question Hour.

Banerjee said the state government has provided a detailed account of the damages caused by the cyclonic storm to the Centre. According to her, the immediate estimate of loss was more than Rs 23,000 crore with several districts such as South 24-Parganas, North 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore and parts of Howrah, Hooghly bearing the brunt of the damage. The cyclone that lasted for six hours affected more than 3.5 million people and damaged around 5 lakh houses along with 6,000 electrical poles and hundreds of trees. Over 14 lakh hectare of agricultural land was destroyed too.

"We are preparing 6 lakh kits for the distressed families. The kit will have cooking utensils, blankets, clothes and food grains — all necessary things to run a family. It is taking some time because the Self-Help Groups associated with the job are preparing only 10,000 kits a day. It will be readied soon," said the Chief Minister.

She lauded the administration, police, civic volunteers and Self-Help Groups for their efforts to minimise loss of lives. "Sixteen persons died out of which nine were staying in a boat and refused to leave the place despite repeated requests from the local administration. The boat capsized when the cyclone hit and they all died," Banerjee said. She said 1.78 lakh people were evacuated and taken to the cyclone centres. Around 200 such units were set up across the state, following Aila that had hit the Sunderbans in 2009.

"There has been a huge loss in agriculture particularly to paddy and betel leaves. However, there is nothing to panic as we produce maximum paddy," she said. Banerjee said the state had already provided Rs 2.4 lakh each to the families of those who were killed in the cyclone.

"An amount of Rs 1,200 crore was released from the state Finance department to help the farmers. We would disburse Rs 5,000 each to betel leaf farmers who faced huge losses," she added.

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