Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conducted an aerial survey of Cyclone Amphan-hit areas in West Bengal along with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and then landed in Bashirhat.
A high-level meeting will be held between the two leaders at Basirhat College now. PM Modi, West Bengal CM, state’s Chief Secretary and ministers and secretaries of concerned state departments will attend the meeting.
The PM earlier arrived in Kolkata on Friday to take stock of the situation in West Bengal, which has been devastated by Cyclone Amphan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kolkata on Wednesday to take stock of the situation in West Bengal, which has been devastated by Cyclone Amphan. PM Modi arrived at the Kolkata airport at 10.50 AM and was received by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and senior state BJP leaders.
According to official sources, Banerjee first held a short meeting with the Prime Minister, during which she briefed him about the ground situation.
“Later, they left on a chopper for the aerial survey,” a West Bengal government official said. The two leaders are also later scheduled to hold a review meeting on the post-Cyclone situation.
“He will conduct an aerial survey and take part in review meetings, where aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed,” the PMO had said in a tweet on Thursday night.
According to TMC sources, the Chief Minister is likely to demand a financial package for the state. Banerjee has already demanded that the cyclone be declared as a national disaster.
The death toll due to powerful Tropical Cyclone Amphan, which left a trail of massive destruction and loss of lives in West Bengal before moving to Bangladesh, has risen to 80 on Friday. Out of the 80 deaths reported so far in West Bengal, 19 were reported in Kolkata alone.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said the devastating storm left at least 72 people dead and many homeless besides snapping electricity, internet connection and other communication tools in large parts of the state.
Speaking at the state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee said, “The total number of deaths due to cyclone Amphan stands at 72, and 15 in Kolkata. The loss is huge. It`s worse than the coronavirus pandemic.”
Banerjee said that most of the connectivity network across the state has gone for a toss during the six-hour-long nature`s fury the region witnessed on Wednesday evening.
“I have requested the Prime Minister to pay a visit to the affected areas of the state, mainly the coastal districts situated along the Bay of Bengal and its surrounding areas,” she said, adding that everything has been ruined by the cyclone.
“We will soon start the restoration work. There have large scale power cuts in many areas of Kolkata and North and South 24 Parganas, while telephone and mobile connections are also down in many parts,” Banerjee said.
Cyclone Amphan crossed the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast between East Midnapore, Digha and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh across the Sunderban region on Wednesday evening with a wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.
The cyclonic spell also left the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport in complete disarray with a portion of it found damaged due to the severe storm and heavy rainfall.
Many neighbourhoods of Kolkata and its twin district Howrah were severely waterlogged as the regions witnessed heavy rains and a massive gush of wind storms that damaged the roofs of several buildings and uprooted a number of trees and electric poles.
Cyclone Amphan left a huge trail of damage in Kolkata`s neighbouring South and North 24 Parganas districts. ‘Mobile and cable networks continued to remain unstable in Kolkata and Howrah even on Thursday.
The Chief Minister also took to Twitter to express her feelings.
“Cyclone Amphan has left a trail of devastation beyond our thoughts. While the material damage is substantial, Bengal stands united in this time of crisis. Together we will overcome this because nothing can dampen the spirit and strength of the people of Bengal,” she had tweeted.