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Kolkata/Bhubaneswar, May 22, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced an initial financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for immediate relief activities for West Bengal and Rs 500 crore for Odisha after an aerial survey of the areas in the two states affected by Cyclone Amphan -- the worst to hit the region in about two decades.
Modi, who reached Kolkata on the first stop of a visit to the two states which were struck by the cyclone on May 20, was accompanied by Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Babul Supriyo, Pratap Chandra Sarangi and Debasree Chaudhuri.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee accompanied him on the aerial survey of the areas in the state slammed by Amphan.
Later, Modi chaired a meeting of all the senior officers of the State and Central Governments to review the relief and rehabilitation measures being undertaken in West Bengal.
An official press release said that, after receiving a memorandum of assistance from West Bengal, the Union Government will deploy an Inter-Ministerial Team to visit the state to assess the extent of damage, based on which further assistance will be given.
Modi expessed his complete solidarity with the people of West Bengal and expressed deep sorrow to the families who have lost their kin during the calamity. He announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to the seriously injured in the cyclone in the State.
The Prime Minister assured the people of the State that the Union Government would closely work with the State Government at this difficult time, extend all possible assistance for restoration and rebuilding of the infrastructure in the affected areas.
This was the second visit of the Prime Minister to West Bengal this year, which is the only state apart from Uttar Pradesh, where he has had multiple visits this year. Prime Minister had earlier this year visited West Bengal on 11-12 January whereby he had attended the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust, dedicated to the nation four refurbished heritage buildings in Kolkata and had also visited Belur Math.
Later, Modi flew to Bhubaneswar and then went for an aerial survey of Bhadrak and Balasore, which were among the coastal districts of the state affected by the cyclone, accompanied by Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
After the aerial survey, Prime Minister chaired a meeting in Bhubaneshwar with the senior State and Central Government functionaries to review the situation. He announced a financial assistance of Rs. 500 crore to the State of Odisha, pending the assessment of the damage by an Inter-Ministerial Central Team.
Prime Minister gave his assurance that the Union Government would work shoulder to shoulder with the State Governments at this difficult time and give all possible assistance for restoration and rebuilding of infrastructure in the areas affected by the cyclone.
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those who suffered serious injuries in the cyclone, the release added.