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Cyclone Amphan: WB govt seeks help from Indian Army for relief work in affected areas

The West Bengal civil administration on Wednesday sought help from the Indian army for relief work after cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc in the state.

The government of West Bengal is mobilising forces for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams have already been deployed in cyclone-affected areas for relief work.

“GOWB mobilizes maximum strength in unified command mode on 24×7basis 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,” Home Department of Government of West Bengal tweeted.

It informed that restoration work for drinking water and drainage infrastructure is in full swing with more than a hundred teams for multiple departments working for cutting down of fallen trees. Moreover, the Public Health Department in West Bengal was requested to supply water pouches in gap pockets.

For the restoration of power in localities, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, and Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) have been asked by the government to deploy maximum manpower for the aforementioned purpose.

“WBSEDCL & CESC asked to deploy maximal manpower, even while lockdown significantly affects the deployment potential of the latter,” the Home Department tweeted.

This comes a day after PM Narendra Modi visited the state to take stock of the situation there after the cyclone ravaged the state, and later announced Rs 1000 crore package for relief work.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal rose to 85 on Saturday. There were reports of protests in Kolkata where people blocked roads in various parts of the city over the administration’s failure to restore normalcy even after three days.

The authorities are scrambling in various parts of the state to restore normalcy.  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to visit Cyclone Amphan hit the South 24 Parganas district on Saturday and take stock of the situation.

Lakhs of people were rendered homeless as Cyclone Amphan cut a path of destruction through half-a-dozen districts of the state on Wednesday, flattening houses, uprooting thousands of trees, and swamping low-lying areas.

According to official sources, around 1.5 crore people of the state have been directly affected and more than 10 lakh houses destroyed due to the cyclone.

Although electricity and mobile connection were restored in some parts of Kolkata, and North and South 24 Parganas districts, many areas continued to remain in darkness as power poles had been blown away and communication lines snapped.

Several roads and houses in Kolkata, Howrah, and North and South 24 Parganas districts continue to remain waterlogged, as hapless citizens came out on the streets against the administration’s “apathy and ineffectiveness”.