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Only Rs 2,707 cr for Amphan-battered Bengal, Trinamool slams move

Only Rs 2,707 cr for Amphan-battered Bengal, Trinamool slams move
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Kolkata: Trinamool Congress vehemently criticised the Centre for depriving Bengal as only Rs 2,707 crore has been announced as additional central assistance under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for Amphan has been announced when the super cyclone led to losses to a tune of Rs 1 lakh crore.

On Friday, a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Union Home minister Amit Shah announced additional assistance of Rs 4,381.88 crore to six states that were affected by natural calamities. It includes Rs 2,707 crore for Bengal where Super Cyclone Amphan had a landfall at a speed of 185 km per hour on May 20 leaving 98 people dead and causing massive destruction in eight districts, including East Midnapore, North and South 24-Parganas.

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said it is nothing apart from a move to deprive the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Bengal just one day after the incident and he himself witnessed the damage caused by the Super Cyclone. He had then released Rs 1,000 crore for the state as interim financial assistance and subsequently sent a team to assess the quantum of damage. "Now, they are releasing only Rs 2707 crore. We strongly protest against such an attitude towards Bengal," Roy said.

State Panchayats and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee said: "The Centre is also doing politics over funds for relief work. We usually don't do politics over all such issues when natural calamity causes havoc to a part of the country. Such an approach is unexpected."

This comes when the Mamata Banerjee government has already released around Rs 6,500 crore for reconstruction work in the Amphan-affected districts besides spending more than Rs 2,500 crore to fight Covid.

The Chief Minister had repeatedly raised her concern against the Centre for its step-motherly attitude towards Bengal in terms of extending support to fight against Covid and the Amphan aftermath.

Besides Bengal, additional Central assistance has also been provided to Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim which were also affected by cyclones, floods and landslides this year.

Also, this comes when the Centre neither paid heed to the state's request of giving a financial grant of Rs 25,000 crore to fight the financial constraints when the economy had nosedived due to the lockdown nor has it cleared the dues of the state government. Raising concerns over the "dire situation" of the state's financial condition due to the lockdown, the Chief Minister had written a letter to the Prime Minister seeking grant and also to immediately release Rs 36,000 crore that is owed by the Centre to the state government.

State Disaster Management minister Javed Khan asked: "Is the allocation of Rs 2707 justified when the damage was of Rs 1 lakh crore? The government will surely look into it."

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