West Bengal is picking up the pieces after it was hit on Wednesday by one of the fiercest cyclones in living memory. The southern areas of the state have seen widespread destruction and the toll is nearing 100 – a number that is expected to go up once the authorities are able to assess the damage.
Amidst this calamity, however, many residents of Bengal are expressing anger and disappointment at being ignored by the rest of India in their hour of need.
Noted Bengali film maker Srijit Mukherji, for example, sarcastically castigated both the national media for not highlighting the tragedy as well as the Union government for not declaring Amphan a national disaster.
Journalist Vir Sanghvi connected this to Bengal’s voting choices. For the past five decades, the state has kept out national parties.
One statement by a list of academics noted that, “We, from West Bengal and Orissa, are shocked and pained to see Indian national media almost ignore the trail of destruction Amphan has left behind.”
Little Central relief
Much of this same sentiment also emerged in reaction to the Union government’s initial package for the cyclone: a modest Rs 1,000 crore. It was pointed out that the money was small compared to other government projects – and was even a fraction of the amount New Delhi already owed West Bengal.
On Friday, Prime Minister Modi had conducted an arial survey of the devastation along with Chief Minister Banerjee once the scale of destruction became clear.