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Featured Image: Mamata Banerjee visits the flood-hit people who have taken shelter on high roads in North Dinajpur district. 

By Our Newsmen

Malda / Siliguri, 21 August: BENGAL has decided to approach the Centre for a Rs 14,000 crore compensation package towards the losses caused by the floods in south and north Bengal.

“Till date, 152 people have died due to floods this season and around 1.5 crore people are affected. The floods have resulted in losses of about Rs 14,000 crore in 11 districts and we would soon send a detailed report to the Centre for compensation,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today told reporters at Malda. The losses include damages to roads, bridges, crop, houses, and livestock.

The CM is on a tour of the flood-hit areas in Malda, North and South Dinajpur districts. She arrived at Malda yesterday night along with urban development minister Firhad Hakim, chief secretary Malay De, home secretary Atri Bhattacharya, and director general of police Surajit Karpurkayastha.

During the day she toured some flooded areas in the three districts and interacted with the flood victims. Later in the day, she held a meeting with the district administrations at Malda directing to expedite relief exercise and stay prepared for rehabilitation drives once the water recede.

Despite repeated incidents of agitation and vandalism by the flood victims in these districts over administration’s failure to provide adequate relief, Banerjee denied any delay or laxity on this front.

“About four lakh tarpaulin sheets have been distributed so far and more are being provisioned for distribution. There is enough relief material. Many speed boats are also operating in the flooded areas distributing relief. Our government does make any discrimination and delay in such situation,” she said.

The CM blamed the absence of dredging in the barrages and reservoirs in the state for the floods that have become an annual feature in Bengal. “Neither Farakka Barrage nor the DVC dams are dredged. I have written to the Centre repeatedly on this but to no avail.”

According to her the floods in north Bengal has taken place not due to heavy rains, but because of the discharge of excessive water from the barrages at Bihar’s Purnia.