PM arrives in Cyclone-Hit West Bengal, met by Mamata Banerjee at Airport
Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Kolkata shortly before 11 am to take stock of the ground situation in the wake of Cyclone Amphan and conduct aerial surveys in West Bengal and Odisha. Cyclone Amphan - the worst in 283 years - has killed 72 people. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar received him at the airport. Governor Dhankhar too will fly with PM Modi and Ms Banerjee on the aerial survey in the state.
All three - the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and the Governor - were seen in face masks.
The cyclone swept through several parts of Bengal, including capital Kolkata on Wednesday, leaving behind a trail of destruction, with thousands of homes damaged, and trees and electric poles uprooted.
This is PM Modi's first travel outside Delhi in nearly three months as he remained in Delhi because of the nationwide lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
PM Modi had last travelled to Prayagraj and Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh on Febraury 29. It is after 83 days that the Prime Minister will be stepping out of the capital, to Bengal and Odisha.
Ms Banerjee had asked the Prime Minister to visit the state and inspect the damage, which she said was in the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore.
PM Modi, in a series of tweets on Thursday, said the entire county stands with Bengal and "no stone will be left unturned" to help those affected. "Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy," the Prime Minister tweeted.
PM Modi, along with Mamata Banerjee and the Governor, will take the the aerial survey in a helicopter in south Bengal, large swathes of which have been devastated by Cyclone Amphan. The Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and the Governor will stop over at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas for a meeting before returning to Kolkata.
After Bengal, PM Modi will fly onwards for an aerial survey of Odisha.