KOLKATA: The West Bengal government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to the Indian Railways urging it not to send Shramik Special trains to the state till May 26 in view of Cyclone Amphan.
In his letter to the Railway Board chairman VK Yadav, the state’s Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha stated that the state has been severely impacted by Super Cyclone Amphan on May 20-21 which caused extensive damage to the infrastructure.
“As several district administrations are involved with relief and rehabilitation works, it will not be possible to receive special trains for the next few days. It's requested that no train should be sent to the state till May 26," the letter dated May 22 said.
The request comes a day after PM Narendra Modi visited the state to take stock of the situation there and later announced Rs 1000 crore package for relief work in the state.
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 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".
People in various parts of Kolkata staged protests and blockades since Friday night demanding the immediate resumption of power and water supply, three days after Amphan ravaged the state.
Firhad Hakim, chairman of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation board of administrators, assured the people that normalcy would be restored in a week, as government officials were working round the clock to improve the situation.
Several relief camps have come up in the districts, where hapless people have queued up for two squares of meal and shelter after their homes being either blown or washed away. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Relief Force have been working on a war-footing to clear the roads blocked by the uprooted trees.