Mamata changes cyclone compensation plan to stem corruption
The West Bengal government’s “Duare Sarkar” program provides social protection programs at people’s doorsteps instead of local agencies preparing a list of victims and assessing damage. The CM carried out such an approach verifies embezzlement
Once bitten, twice shy.
Inspired by the anomalies observed in the compensation following Cyclone Amphan last year, the government of West Bengal has reversed the process of distributing relief to those affected by Cyclone Yaas.
This time around, the state government will set up camps for those affected to submit their claims, instead of local agencies preparing a list of victims and assessing the damage, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Thursday (May 27).
The chief minister’s decision is influenced by corruption charges brought against TMC officials during the distribution of disaster relief after Cyclone Amphan last year.
The change in approach to compensating victims of natural disasters is part of the decision of the Congressional government of Trinamool to extend its model of governance to the door, called the “ Duare Sarkar ” program, introduced at the end of his second term to compensate for anti-incumbency. .
How will the victims of the cyclone be compensated this time?
Claims will be accepted in the camps from June 3 to 18. Applications will be verified and reviewed from June 19 to 30. From July 1, the compensation money will be transferred directly to the victims’ bank accounts.
Compensation of 25,000 rupees per household will be paid to those whose homes were completely destroyed by the cyclone. For partial damage, Rs 5,000 will be paid per household.
A one-off grant of Rs 10,000 will be paid to those whose boat is wrecked. For partial damage of a boat, the amount of compensation will be 5,000 Rs.
The government will pay Rs 30,000 for the death of each cow / buffalo.
Variable compensation rates have also been set for affected farmers, weavers and fishermen, according to government sources.
An initial fund of Rs 1,000 crore has been set up to compensate the victims of Cyclone Yaas which ravaged the state on Wednesday May 26, damaging more than 3 lakh houses in the state’s coastal districts and flooding hundreds of hectares. of agricultural land. and fishing.
The state government’s initial estimate put the overall loss at Rs 20,000 crore. This includes damage to state property such as roads and embankments.
Why has the compensation process changed?
In the normal course, the panchayat and other local bodies prepare a casualty list and estimate the damage.
“This time, according to the instructions of the chief minister, the people themselves will present their claims in the special camps which will be set up under the government program Duare Tran (home relief),” said a panchayat official. and rural areas of the state. development department.
The change in approach was prompted by large-scale irregularities in the identification of Amphan victims.
Relatives of several panchayat officials of the ruling TMC had been enlisted free of charge although they were not affected by the cyclone. Many panchayats and TMC leaders have also been accused of forcing cyclone victims to pay “cuts,” a euphemism for bribes taken to benefit from government subsidies and compensation.
The bribery and “money-cutting” accusations against TMC officials were not limited to the distribution of disaster relief. Other government welfare programs and even the distribution of rations have also been marred by similar allegations and have become a major issue in polls ahead of the assembly elections earlier this year.
‘Duare Sarkar’ program
As a course correction measure, the TMC government launched its “Duare Sarkar” program for the implementation of its well-being programs at the doorstep of the population through awareness camps organized at the level of the gram panchayat and the municipal districts.
More than 2.75 million people visited 32,830 camps across the state to enjoy the benefits of the program for more than 60 days.
The camps have succeeded in blunting accusations of corruption against the ruling TMC, as evidenced by its spectacular victory in the elections.
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The government has now decided to further expand this model. It has already rolled out its promised “Duare Ration” program in the form of pilot projects in 22 districts of the state. Under this program, the government will provide free home delivery of monthly rations.
The launch of the program is one of the first decisions taken by the new government.
“This time, the government’s implementation mechanism will be at the doorstep of the people from the start,” the official said.
Apart from these special initiatives, the government also plans to organize “Duare Sarkar” camps twice a year to make social assistance programs more accessible to the population, the official added.
CM requests Rs 20,000 crore relief package from PM Modi
At the same time, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (May 28) in Kalaikunda in the West Midnapore district and presented a preliminary report on the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas. The PM is in Bengal to examine the situation after the cyclone.
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The state government demanded a special financial package of Rs 10,000 crore for the development of the Sunderbans and another Rs 10,000 crore for the reconstruction of the cyclone-ravaged coastal town of Digha, a tourist hotspot in the State.
However, Banerjee did not attend the review meeting with Modi, claiming that she should “rush to Digha”.
Sources, however, said the chief minister had skipped the meeting since the prime minister invited Mamata’s former aide and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari to an “official event”.