KOLKATA, 10th June: The Left Front Committee in West Bengal has demanded that the May 25 cyclone destruction in three districts be declared a national disaster. In view of the magnitude of damage caused to human life, agricultural land and livestock in the Sundarbans, where lakhs have been rendered homeless and land has become saline, it should be declared a national disaster, committee chairman Biman Basu said after a meeting of the Left Front partners here on Tuesday.
Addressing journalists, he said just as MPs donated money for reconstruction in the wake of the Kosi floods and the Gujarat earthquake, this time too Parliament should make necessary provisions so that members could contribute money for Aila victims. Referring to the ongoing visit of a Central team, Mr Basu said, “We hope to get a positive response from the Centre, once the team submits its report.”
Asked about the Congress attending and its ally, the Trinamool Congress, abstaining from the all-party meeting called by the Chief Minister last Sunday to discuss relief measures, Mr. Basu said: “When we are demanding that it be declared a national disaster, a national party like Congress had come forward to play its national role… we have to rise above narrow party-politics to reach out to the distressed people now.”
On the rehabilitation and compensation package offered by the State government, Mr. Basu said the rate mentioned in its relief manual is “inadequate and should be changed immediately keeping the current market prices in view.” Criticising the Trinamool’s alleged role in inciting violence in several parts of the State on the issue of college admissions, Mr. Basu said such incidents should “stop immediately for the sake of students and the education system.”
Comparing the incidents to the situation that obtained in the State in the early 1970s, he said a “decisive political solution” was the only way out of the violence.