The West Bengal government, which is struggling to restore normalcy after Cyclone Amphan, sought support from the Indian Army, after which five columns were deployed in different parts of Kolkata and the North and South 24 Parganas districts on Saturday.
This was done to restore essential infrastructure and services in the wake of the destruction caused by the cyclone, a defence official said. The Mamata Banerjee government has been grappling with challenges posed by Covid-19 on the one hand and the widespread destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan on the other.
The extended lockdown has made restoration work an uphill task, the biggest impediment being manpower shortage. Most people engaged in restoration of power have gone home.
As a result, three days on, parts of Kolkata and the districts remained without power. Protests erupted in many parts of the state and much of the wrath was directed towards the power utility, CESC. However, 85 per cent of consumers in Kolkata have had their connections restored already.
Banerjee appealed to the people to be patient. “I have just come back from a district where 10 lakh (100,000) houses have been damaged. They don’t have water, 45,000 electric poles have been impacted. The embankments are destroyed,” she said.
The chief minister returned from South 24 Parganas on Saturday.
She appealed to protesters to forgive her, and said: “Don’t do anything that will hinder the restoration work.”