Cyclone Amphan: Bengal govt seeks Army support for handling aftermath, including restoration & relief work

The West Bengal government has sought Army support for relief operations in the state following the impact of super cyclone Amphan that had maximum impact on Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore, among other districts.

State home department tweeted on Saturday: “GOWB mobilizes maximum strength in unified command mode on 24×7 basis for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services asap. Army support has been called for; NDRF and SDRF teams deployed; Rlys, Port & private sector too requested to supply teams and equipment”

In the tweet, the government authorities also explained that “Drinking water and drainage infrastructure getting restored fast. PHE asked to supply water pouches in gap pockets. Generators being hired where necessary. More than a hundred teams from multiple departments and bodies working for cutting of fallen trees, which is the key to restoration of power in localities.” The tweet also mentioned that the state electricity board and CESC have been asked to deploy maximal manpower, though lockdown had “significantly” affected the deployment.

Kolkata and adjoining districts of North and South 24 Parganas witnessed protests with angry residents blocking roads at few places over long hours of power cut and unavailability of drinking water ever since Amphan devastated the area on Wednesday evening until midnight. Road blockades were reported from Garia, Jadavpur, Bagha Jatin, Bijaygarh, Behala, Tollygunj and few other areas of north Kolkata. Residents of many areas in Barackpore sub-division including Belgharia, Panihati, Sodepur, Barangar, Titagarh, Khardah faced acute crisis of drinking water. Many had to buy water at high prices. People blocked roads at some places in protest.

Water tankers were deployed by municipalities to areas that faced shortage of drinking water, but it was not enough to meet up to the demands. Many incidents of residents being caught up in brawls and fights with each other over water distribution from the tankers have been reported. Also, hundreds could be seen standing in queue to fetch water from a single tube well.

Although work to restore power at the earliest started soon after the storm, the process is being delayed since hundreds of uprooted trees need to be removed and electric posts and wires have to be fixed before restoring power.

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