Cyclone Amphan: Parts of Kolkata limp back to normalcy
Kolkata, May 26 (PTI): Drinking water and electricity supply have been restored in large swathes of Kolkata ravaged by Cyclone Amphan even as some parts of the city witnessed protests over lack of essential services.
According to Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) sources, the restoration work is on at a war footing and they are hopeful that all the roads will be cleared of uprooted trees either by tonight or Wednesday morning.
“Our job is almost complete. Now the issue of power restoration is being looked into by CESC. They have assured us that the power would be restored in remaining areas by Wednesday morning,” a senior KMC official said.
Lakhs of people were rendered homeless as cyclone Amphan cut a path of destruction through half-a-dozen districts of West Bengal, including state capital Kolkata,on May 20, blowing away shanties, uprooting thousands of trees and swamping low-lying areas.
Large areas of the city continue to remain without power as electric poles and communication lines had been blown away by gusting winds.
Unlike the last five days, the city reported scattered protests on Tuesday.
Agitators at Garia and Behala in south suburban Kolkata blocked roads with branches of uprooted trees and placed barricades to restrict the movement of vehicles to press for their demands.
“Six days have passed, but electricity is yet to return to our area. We don’t know when it will return,” said a resident of Garia.
People blamed the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) for not being able to restore power supply, and claimed that no official of the private utility had visited the locality so far.
“We have contacted the local administration and the local police station to apprise them of our problems. No help is forthcoming from any quarter so far,” another resident said.
People in Behala also demonstrated against increased water prices amid rising mercury levels.
At Seoraphuli town in Hooghly district, Congress leader Abdul Mannan took to the streets protesting against CESC’s failure to restore power supply. He blocked the arterial G T Road.
Police tried to convince the Congress leader to lift the blockade but Mannan said, “I will not leave the area till CESC officials come and rectify the situation”.
“Diabetic patients who are dependent on insulin are not being able to get their daily dosage of shots as refrigerators are not working due to no electricity,” a protester said.
The Army was deployed in Kolkata and its neighbouring districts on Saturday, hours after the West Bengal government sought its help for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services in the state.
Contending that 80 per cent of all essential services have been restored in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday sought the cooperation of people for bringing the cyclone-hit state back on its feet.
Mobile and internet services are yet to be restored in several parts of South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.