June 3, 2009

West Bengal demands Rs 1,000 cr for Aila-hit areas

New Delhi, June 02: West Bengal on Tuesday demanded at least Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre's National Calamity Contingency Fund immediately to step up relief work in the wake of the damage caused by cyclone Aila. 

After submitting a memorandum to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram in this regard, state Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta expressed hopes that the Centre would soon send a committee to assess the damage caused by the cyclone, so that the required funds from NCCF can be obtained.

 "After this meeting, it appeared that Chidambaram will form this central team very quickly," Dasgupta told reporters here. He said the central team will visit cyclone-affected parts and make a recommendation to the home ministry. To a query over Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's demand that funds should be routed from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through gram panchayats instead of the state government, Dasgupta said, "I do not comment on everybody's comment."  Dasgupta said the total requirement for relief works is huge, estimated at Rs 1,934 crore. 

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