Cyclone Bulbul: Mamata Banerjee sets up task force to review relief operations

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KAKDWIP: Lauding the administration in South 24 Parganas district for its initiatives to minimise the impact of Cyclone 'Bulbul', West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those killed in the storm.

Banerjee also constituted a task force to look into the relief and restoration work. She urged people to "stay positive" and stand beside those who have been affected by the cyclone.

Cyclone 'Bulbul', which made landfall between Sagar Islands in South 24 Parganas and Khepupara in Bangladesh, claimed at least 10 lives and affected six lakh people in different parts of Bengal.

As many as 1.78 lakh people have been shifted to 471 relief camps set up in the state. The CM, following an aerial survey of the cyclone- ravaged areas of Namkhana and Bakkhali, held an administrative meeting here to review the work being undertaken in the aftermath of the disaster.

"My administration did a commendable job. The devastation, otherwise, could have been far more. If they (officials) had not rescued 1.78 lakh, people, I cannot say what would have happened. They will be rewarded. Even the central government applauded (the efforts)," she said.

Stressing that restoration of power supply, provision of clean drinking water and medicines were the need of the hour, Banerjee asked officials to reach out to people and ensure that the aid was evenly distributed without affecting peace in the region.

She appointed Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha as the head of the task force - which, she said, would be reviewing the ongoing relief work every 48 hours.

Taking note of the damage caused to betel leaf cultivation and paddy in the district, the TMC supremo directed departments of irrigation, forest, and power to work in tandem for restoring normalcy.

The Trinamool Congress supremo also advised the officials to take the help of civic volunteers of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDR) to speed up the relief operations.

A total of 323 kitchens have been opened to cater to the cyclone-hit families and 94 boats employed to aid in the restoration work, the CM said.

"As of now, reports suggest that six lakh people have been affected by the cyclone. The number might increase in the days to come," she added. Banerjee is set to visit cyclone-affected areas of Basirhat in North 24-Parganas on Wednesday.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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