Cyclone expected to hit Odisha, Bengal, A.P. on May 26.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the preparedness for cyclone ‘Yaas’ with the Chief Ministers of Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and the Lieutenant Governor of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The cyclone is expected to hit the coastal States on May 26.
After the virtual meeting, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed dissatisfaction over allocation of funds for cyclone relief to the State.
Speaking to journalists at the State Secretariat, she said that Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have been allocated ₹ 600 crore as an advance while West Bengal has been allocated only ₹ 400 crore.
“I told Amit Shah ji why this discrimination. West Bengal is a bigger State and with a higher population density. I could not understand this logic behind this allocation,” she stated. She raised the points at the meeting, she asserted.
“The Home Minister said he will speak later since these are based on science. I did not press on the issue further… I am aware of political science, was not very sure of the science he was referring to,” she stated. The State had no issues with funds being allocated to sister States, but West Bengal should not be deprived, she pointed out.
Ms. Banerjee said that during cyclone ‘Amphan’, despite Central teams visiting the State, the Centre did not allocate the necessary funds. After ‘Yaas’, the State would conduct the necessary survey and once again place its requirement with the Centre, she noted.
Mr. Shah asked the States to make adequate power backup arrangements in all COVID-19 hospitals, laboratories, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities and ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals amid the likely disruption of movement of vehicles.
He also asked the States to ensure the safety of oxygen generation plants.
Buffer stock of oxygen
A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) statement said, “He advised them to make advance planning for keeping a buffer stock of oxygen for two days and movement of oxygen tankers to allocated States, so that in case of any disruption, supply to allocated States is not impacted… also emphasised the need to make necessary arrangements for safety of power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to hospitals and health facilities”.
The safety of all shipping and fishing vessels, and all ports and oil installations in the area was also reviewed during the meeting.
The minister said that a 24×7 control room was functioning in the MHA, which could be contacted at any time for any assistance by the States. The Coast Guard, the Navy, the Army and Air Force have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters were carrying out sorties.