West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked officials to "immediately take steps" to ensure that nobody is deprived after complaints that government benefits were not reaching those hit by Cyclone Amphan and were diverted to unaffected people, secretariat sources said on Tuesday.
Committees headed by block development officers (BDOs) have been set up in the cyclone-affected districts to address the issue, they said. Cyclone Amphan that ripped through eight districts of the state on May 20 claimed at least 98 lives. The chief minister has announced several schemes to extend financial support to people in those districts.
"Till June 12, we received around 2,000 complaints from people saying that benefits have not reached them. Committees have been constituted to resolve the issue. BDOs will head these panels which will look into the matter and ensure that all of the affected people get the benefits announced by the state," a senior IAS officer said.
Most of these complaints received by district authorities since early last week said that genuine beneficiaries were not getting the assistance but funds were diverted to others not affected by the calamity, he said. The West Bengal government has released Rs 1,444 crore to assist people as part of the rehabilitation process following cyclone Amphan, the chief minister had said on June 2.
The state government has already transferred money to nearly 5 lakh affected people for repairing their homes, besides crop damage assistance to 23.3 lakh farmers. Financial assistance to 2 lakh betel farmers has also been provided, Banerjee had said.