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TMC: Amphan relief main issue in 3 S. Pargana districts

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The lack of relief Cyclone Amphan survivors is the major poll issue in Kakdwip, Gosaba and Patharpratima constituencies of South Parganas district which vote on Thursday. The cyclone had affected the fishermen community in the area. Several people that ET spoke to were unhappy with relief measures. The ire of the fishermen community in Kakdwip and Gosaba is directed at Trinamool over alleged corruption and for not providing money to rebuild homes.

“I have not received relief for rebuilding my house. Local Trinamool workers paid relief to their relatives but not poor people like us,” alleged Dhiren Biswas, a 61-year-old fisherman. “My house was completely broken and roof blown off by the cyclone. We live near the sea and our neighbourhood was worst affected,” he told ET.

Gitarani Biswas, a widow, still lives in the school building in Kakdwip as her house located 300m from the Kakdwip Steamer ghat was destroyed by the cyclone. “My husband was a fisherman. He passed away few years ago. I have no one to fall back on. I have applied for relief and fund for reconstructing my house. I have been promised money but have not received a penny,” Biswas told ET.

“I have lost everything in Amphan. We live inside a tarpaulin shanty now. My son had to discontinue studies and we received only Rs 5,000 from the government. The rest is yet to reach us. We are living in penury,” said Khudiram Das, a resident of Pratapaditya Nagar in Kakdwip who sells cucumber in the main market. “We had to pay local party workers to get the first installment of relief,” alleged said Asiya Bibi, who lost everything in Amphan. She received Rs 20,000 while Rs 18,000 is pending. “All work stopped due to announcement of polls. I continue to live in a tarpaulin shanty,” she said. Her mud house was shattered by the cyclone.

Union home minister Amit Shah has alleged at several public rallies that chief minister Mamata Banerjee ‘siphoned off’ the money meant for cyclone relief. BJP has promised the fishermen community aid for rebuilding houses, bridges and creation of a cyclone disaster management corpus in its poll manifesto.

Trinamool gram panchayat member Swarup Biswas said, “we have tried to reconstruct roads even in villages and remote areas. We have provided relief to people. The process was on but then suddenly election was announced, so the work was stalled.” Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said at several rallies that her government has worked for development of the South 24 Pargaans region post-Amphan. She said that while the Centre provided Rs1,000 crore as Amphan relief, her government has spent Rs 7,000 crore for relief and reconstruction.

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