Buddhadeb urges Sundarbans locals to re-build damaged embankments

June 2nd, 2009 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Kolkata, June 2 (IANS) Paying a visit to the cyclone-ravaged areas of coastal West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Tuesday proposed that residents of various islands in the Sundarbans help rebuild the embankments damaged by Cyclone Aila. They would be paid for the work they do, he said.
“More than 400 km of embankments have been totally damaged in the devastating cyclone. We ask the people to join hands immediately and rebuild the embankments before the coming high tide next week,” Bhattacharjee said at a press conference at Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas district.

“If we can involve a large number of people in the process, we’ll be able to stop at least 70-80 percent of water during the high tide. We’ve decided that the entire work for rebuilding the embankment would be carried out by the villagers. The government will pay them for their efforts. The engineers will just give instructions,” he said.

Bhattacharjee Tuesday visited several cyclone-ravaged areas of North 24 Parganas district. Besides Hingalganj, he went to Hasanabad, Sandeshkhali and Basirhat area that were hit by Cyclone Aila last week.

“We’re not getting enough soil to use for rebuilding the embankments. This is the major problem we’re facing now. But the government is trying to procure adequate soil,” the chief minister said, adding that the relief materials are reaching remote parts of the Sundarbans. He also said the state government is in talks with the centre on how to provide succour to the impoverished.

“We’ve sent our memorandum to the centre listing our demands for carrying out the relief operation in the Sundarbans. I also had talks with the union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee this morning (Tuesday) and will also give him a detailed feedback later.

“Our Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta will also hold meetings with Mukherjee and the union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on the matter,” he said.

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