A central team of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) is on Sunday scheduled to visit the areas affected by Cyclone Yaas in West Bengal and assess the situation, news agency ANI reported citing people familiar with the developments. The three-member team, headed by joint secretary SK Shashi, will also hold meetings with the officials of disaster management and finance departments in Nabanna, the state secretariat on June 9.
“The team will hold meetings with officials of Disaster Management and Finance Department in Nabanna, the West Bengal state secretariat. The team will also visit Cyclone Yaas-affected areas in South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore,” ANI quoted the people mentioned above as saying.
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The visit of MHA officials in the state for the assessment of damages comes days after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee along with the then chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay skipped the cyclone review meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, triggering a massive row. The situation turned tense after the Centre called the former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer back to Delhi. Instead, Alapan Bandopadhyay chose to retire on May 31, even after a three-month extension sanctioned to him by the state and central governments.
Bandopadhyay, who was later appointed by Banerjee as her chief advisor, was also slapped a show-cause notice by MHA on May 31 under the strict provisions of the Disaster Management Act that involves imprisonment of up to two years.
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The chief minister appealed for ₹20,000 crore relief package on the basis of preliminary assessment of the damages to property and agriculture.
As many as 18 lakh people were affected by the cyclonic storm and around 2.21 lakh hectares of crops and 71,560 hectares of horticulture area got damaged, Banerjee said, reported PTI. Several districts of the state, including Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, South 24 Pargana and Jhargram, were affected by Cyclone Yaas that made its landfall in Odisha on May 26. Digha and Sundarbans were among the worst-hit areas in the state.
(With agency inputs)