Mamata should understand Centre's good intentions
Amphan, the most powerful cyclone to strike eastern India and Bangladesh, is said to be the biggest in this century itself
Amphan, the most powerful cyclone to strike eastern India and Bangladesh, is said to be the biggest in this century itself. It has killed at least 100 people, and rescue teams are scouring devastated coastal villages, but are hampered by torn down power lines and flooding over large tracts of land, reports suggest. Going by any yardstick, this is a severe most cyclone and requires a long time to restore even semblance of normalcy in the affected areas.
The authorities were fortunate enough that technology came to their aid and the advance information and predictions have led to saving a large number of lives, which otherwise, would have been lost due to the cyclone. The authorities had launched a massive evacuation effort before Cyclone Amphan made landfall on May 20 and undoubtedly saved countless lives, but the full extent of the casualties and damage to property would only be known once communications are restored, officials said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rushed to affected areas for a first-hand on the spot study of the situation.
He was, for a change, received by the ever squabbling Mamata Banerjee, who had appealed for humanitarian aid without any politics involved. Of course, that in itself, is politics. She is bound to criticise the Centre sooner or later and the latter is bound to do vice verse in no time. Yet, the leaders should behave and do the needful. Mamata said that at least 72 people had perished - most of them either electrocuted or killed by trees uprooted by winds that gusted up to 185 km per hour (115 mph). That toll has crossed 80 now. When the cyclone barrelled in from the Bay of Bengal, the storm surge of around five metres resulted in flooding across the low-lying coastal areas.
Video footage shot in West Bengal showed upturned boats on the shore, people wading through knee-deep water and buses crashed into each other. More images showed villagers trying to lift fallen electricity poles, fishermen hauling their boats out of a choppy sea, and uprooted trees lying strewn across the countryside. The storm is the first super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999. Though its winds had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone. West Bengal is battling not only the cyclone but also the coronavirus.
There is already a full scale political war being waged on corona with the Centre accusing the State of doing very little and also hiding the figures. Mamata didi, for reasons better known to her, prefers her hide and seek game even if the Centre were to welcome her with open arms. She should understand that Centre's intervention is necessary and also that it is duty bound to do so and is doing no favour to the State. West Bengal need not feel obliged to the Centre as it is entitled to the services of the Centre in this regard. Be it corona or the cyclone, both the governments should keep in mind the fact that they are in place only to serve the people.