Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit West Bengal and Odisha on Friday to take stock of the situation in the wake of Cyclone Amphan, which has ravaged several parts of these states, killing at least 72 people. He will conduct aerial surveys and take part in review meetings, where aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday.
The super cyclone Amphan weakened on Thursday after making landfall in West Bengal's coastal districts at 2:30 PM on Wednesday. The cyclonic storm with sustained wind speeds of 155-165 kmph spiralling up to 185 kmph caused massive devastation, particularly in West Bengal, with huge losses to properties, business installations, agriculture, etc.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the devastation due to Amphan in state capital Kolkata was "a bigger disaster than COVID-19" and asked PM Modi to come and visit Cyclone Amphan-affected areas. "I have never witnessed such a fierce cyclone and destruction in my life. I would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and visit Cyclone Amphan-affected areas," she said.
The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for the family members of each of the deceased.
Earlier today, PM Modi, in a series of tweets, expressed his solidarity with people of West Bengal and Odisha as Cyclone Amphan battered the two states. The Prime Minister said he would pray that the situation normalises at the earliest. He said no stones will be left unturned in helping the affected.
"Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy," the Prime Minister tweeted.
During the day, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired the meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), which reviewed the situation in the cyclone affected areas of Odisha and West Bengal with the States and Central Ministries and other concerned agencies.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has facilitated the evacuation of about 5 lakh people in West Bengal and about 2 lakh in Odisha. NDRF has also deployed additional teams in West Bengal to speed up restoration work, especially in Kolkata.
By Chitranjan Kumar