West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday assured those affected by the cyclone Amphan that they will get relief and rehabilitation funds due to them. Banerjee was addressing a press conference at Nabanna, the state administrative headquarters. She said that there may have been some mistakes and delay, but all that would be rectified, and each deserving person will get the amount allotted for relief and rehabilitation.
There have been allegations against Trinamool Congress leaders of siphoning off funds allotted for relief and rehabilitation for those affected by the Cyclone Amphan. The cyclone ravaged homes and agricultural lands in 16 districts of West Bengal on May 20 and affecting the lives of nearly 8 crore people.
Over the past few weeks, Trinamool Congress has expelled some party workers for siphoning off funds meant for Amphan relief. A gram panchayat pradhan in Hooghly district was expelled from the party in June. Another panchayat member of the ruling party – from South 24 Parganas district – was gheraoed by residents and held hostage for illegally receiving compensation amount meant for the cyclone affected. Mamata Banerjee has hinted at strong action against those who are found to be guilty.
The Centre had announced Rs 1,000 crore as advance relief for Amphan, though the Bengal government has said that a lot more, over Rs 1 lakh crore is required for repair and rehabilitation work. The cyclone killed nearly a hundred people and left thousands homeless across the state. Banerjee has been saying that the Central government owes Rs 53,000 crore to the state for various social security schemes and even if a part of this is given to the state, it would help rebuild the homes of many.
Under this backdrop, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has attacked the ruling Trinamool Congress leadership alleging that leaders from various levels were siphoning off funds meant for Amphan relief. The party’s Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh has floated a social media platform – “Dilip-da ke bolo” (Talk to Dilip-da) to raise issues on being deprived of Amphan relief.
“Those who already have homes are getting money to build houses but those who have lost homes in the cyclone aren’t getting relief. We will raise the issue at various levels,” Ghosh said. “It is not enough to expel leaders from the party. Police action must be taken against them,” he added. “We will inform the district officials and the Centre, among others, after we make a list of complaints from those who approach us,” Ghosh said.