New Delhi: The death toll due to cyclone Amphan touched 86 on Saturday. The Army personnel had to be deployed in Kolkata and neighbouring districts of West Bengal to help the authorities restore normalcy. This came as protests continued against disruption of essential services notwithstanding an appeal for restraint by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: PM Modi Announces Rs 1,000 Crore Interim Relief For West Bengal; Mamata Says We Must Work Together
Banerjee, who conducted an aerial survey of the worst affected regions of South 24 Parganas district for the second consecutive day, after accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday, denounced the “negative campaigning” against her government, saying “this is not the time to do politics”. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: 'Never Seen a Disaster Like This,' Mamata Banerjee Announces Rs 2.5 Lakh ex-Gratia For Kins of Deceased
From Behala in the south to Belgharia in the north, protests continued in several areas of the city and its outskirts for the second consecutive day over the administration’s failure to restore water and power supply. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: Over 3 Lakh People Evacuated, All Precautionary Measures Taken, Says Mamata Banerjee
The protesters, many of whom were women, said they are under extreme hardship as there was no electricity and water for the past three days and repeated calls to power utilities CESC and WBSEDCL went unanswered.
Amid the rising mercury, the continuous power cut and lack of drinking water supply had worsened the matters. In a few places, clashes between the police and angry protestors were also reported.
Later while addressing a review meeting at Kakdwip, Banerjee urged people to have patience as the administration was working tirelessly to restore water and power supply.
“We are facing four challenges at a time, COVID-19, lockdown, issues related to migrant labourers and now the cyclonic disaster. Everybody should understand the ground reality and cooperate,” she said while directing the administration to utilise local people to restore normalcy in the region.
“Several people have left (the city) because of the coronavirus pandemic. In some places, 25 per cent of men are working while in some places only 30 per cent are on the job. So we do not have the required manpower, and because the lockdown is still on, they cannot come for work,” she said.
Meanwhile, the state government has asked the railway ministry not to send Shramik Special trains to the state till May 26, as it is busy with relief and restoration work post-Cyclone Amphan.
Lakhs of people were rendered homeless as Cyclone Amphan cut a path of destruction through half-a-dozen districts of West Bengal, including state capital Kolkata, on Wednesday night, blowing away shanties, uprooting thousands of trees and swamping low-lying areas.