A day after Cyclone Yaas hit West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday that the state has faced losses to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore, and announced the launch of her "Duare Tran" (relief at doorstep) scheme next month, primarily aimed at reaching out to the affected people.
Ms Banerjee also allotted Rs 1,000 crore for relief work to be undertaken in the cyclone-hit areas, and said that more funds would be doled out if necessary.
"Going by the initial reports, we have found out that West Bengal has incurred a total loss of around Rs 15,000 crore. It will probably go up. We need to conduct field survey which is still not possible as most of the places lay inundated. It will take some time (to get a final estimate)," she said.
The Chief Minister further said that all calculations were done, taking into account the population density and concentration of agricultural fields in a region.
"The government will run the 'Duare Tran' scheme at the panchayat and block level to help those genuinely affected by the cyclone. The process will start from June 3 once the water recedes," she pointed out.
The scheme will be run by those who had steered the 'Duare Sarkar' scheme, the Chief Minister said at the state secretariat.
"Applications for the 'Duare Tran' scheme will be accepted from June 3 to June 18 by officers operating the camps during this period," she explained.
The Trinamool Congress chief also underlined that all applications would be "thoroughly verified" between June 18 and 30 to ensure no one misuses the scheme.
"Only genuine cases will be entertained. We do not want anybody to get victimised. Doles would be distributed to people, irrespective of their religion, caste," Ms Banerjee said.
The compensation would be deposited in the bank accounts of beneficiaries, starting July 1, and the entire process is expected to be completed by July 8, the Chief Minister said.
"We will not carry out the process in haste to make sure that eligible people get due benefits. The verification will take 15 days," she said.
Referring to the ravages caused by Super Cyclone Amphan last year, Ms Banerjee alleged that the Centre did not provide any financial aid, despite the administration submitting reports to Union government, pointing out that state incurred losses of Rs 37,000-crore.
"We had to bear huge expenses last year after cyclone Amphan struck. We had given an estimate of Rs 37,000 crore to the Centre but got practically nothing. Later, we sought Rs 7,000 crore, and that request, too, went unheeded. What little the Centre gave us was our money (the money the state was supposed to get), and not something extra," she said.
Notably, the central government had provided Rs 1,000 crore in advance to West Bengal to deal with the devastation caused by Super Cyclone Amphan last May.
The Trinamool Congress government had last year received flak for alleged misappropriation of funds that were allotted for Cyclone Amphan-hit people.
Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said a total of 1.16 lakh hectare of agricultural land suffered damage, with losses pegged at Rs 2,000 crore, due to Wednesday's storm surge.