Army helps in cyclone-battered Kolkata


The Indian Army was in action in Bengal on Sunday, helping the Mamata Banerjee government deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, which tore through coastal Bengal and large parts of Kolkata on Wednesday, uprooting thousands of trees, destroying tens of thousands of homes and leaving lakhs without power, water and sanitation.

Visuals from news agency ANI showed soldiers removing uprooted trees, clearing roads and helping the NDRF in the Salt Lake, Behala, and Golpark areas of Kolkata. Three columns had been dispatched to the city on Saturday evening, and two others to North and South 24 Paraganas district, hours after the state requested support “for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services”.

The Army and the NDRF weren’t the only ones on Kolkata’s streets, with angry citizens demanding restoration of electricity, water and mobile phone coverage, all of which have been disrupted since the cyclone, one of the worst to have formed over the Bay of Bengal in recent years, hit.

There were protests in areas near Tollygunge, including Netaji Nagar – whose residents said they hired machinery to remove uprooted trees after authorities failed to help despite requests to restore electricity supply.

There were also protests in New Alipore in south Kolkata; while residents in southwest Kolkata’s Behala said they had been forced to purchase water as supply had yet to be restored.

Telecom restoration work in the city and adjoining districts, which include North and South 24 Paraganas, were also affected by protests today, according to PTI, with around 50 per cent of base transceiver stations – which enables mobile, voice and data communication – still offline.

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