Bengal flood toll 97, Mamata faces opposition heat

Kolkata, Aug 6 (IANS) With 12 more deaths, the toll in West Bengal flood shot up to 97 as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came under heavy attack from the opposition for playing politics over the calamity.

While the situation has been improving with water level receding, the disaster management department said 12 more deaths were reported from various parts of the state, taking the toll to 97.

Nearly 63 lakh people residing in 53 municipalities and 16,300 villages across 12 districts have been affected by the floods. Over one lakh houses have been destroyed and 1.12 lakh suffered partial damage. There has been crop loss across an area of 8,20,435 hectares.

While the Left Front accused Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress of indulging in politics over a natural calamity, the BJP hit at the chief minister for calling an all party meet scheduled on Saturday.

“The government’s attitude has been casual and when the need was a collective effort to reach out to the people in distress, the chief minister declared only the government had the right to carry relief and rescue work,” said Left Front chairman Biman Bose.

“Not only the relief materials are being distributed from Trinamool offices but many of the trucks carrying the materials had Trinamool flags. The relief materials are procured out of people’s tax money and not through the party’s fund. It is shameless politics,” he added.

The veteran Marxist leader also hit out at Banerjee over her recent visit to Britain, saying she had gone there on a “vacation”.

State Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rahul Sinha, in a letter to Banerjee, said the all party meet was a futile exercise.

“Instead of an all party meeting, inspection teams headed by a minister and comprising members from all the political parties should be sent to the affected areas. An all party committee should also be formed to ensure effective distribution of relief material,” he said.

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