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The Wrath Of Amphan Cyclone In India

Cyclone Amphan exposes Eastern India; Odisha and West Bengal to serious damage and devastation

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Amphan Cyclone
A satellite view of Cyclone Amphan on May 19, 2020. PC: Weathernerds.org

BY Varuni Trivedi
Odisha and West Bengal were left in shambles as Cyclone Amphan left only doom and devastation behind. Torrential rains and winds gusting up to 185 kph on Wednesday, affected 4.5 million people across 1,500 villages in Odisha, and claimed the lives of 72 people in West Bengal leaving many homeless and devastated.

Both the states suffered widespread destruction of homes, crops, and infrastructure. Many people were crushed by falling trees and electrocuted by power lines. Horrific images of destruction came from both states showing uprooted trees and electricity poles catching fire. Amidst a global pandemic that had already taken a toll on people the ‘normal life’ in these states is paralyzed for millions. Both Orissa and West Bengal currently lay in the aftermath of a destructive cyclone for which they weren’t prepared.

The worst-hit in this scenario are the small scale industries and infrastructure which wiped out leaving lakhs of people homeless. It devastated coastal villages knocking down mud houses and temporary shelters and flooding many areas. In the WB capital Kolkata, the streets are still flooded while phone and internet services have still not been restored completely. Officials say that the extent of destruction caused is yet to be determined. The loss of dwellings and crops, which has struck people amid two months of a nationwide lockdown that has left millions of Indians without an income and in a terrible shock.

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People struggling to get past an uprooted tree struck by Aphan cyclone. PC: IndianExpress

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said she was “shocked” to see such a massive disaster. She further stated that she had never seen anything like this before and the cyclone is worse than the coronavirus. She stressed the cyclone’s “unexpected scale” and has urged great support from the center. Today PM Modi along with CM Banerjee took an aerial survey of the cyclone areas.

The Prime Minister has assured all sorts of assistance to West Bengal and will be ensuring that the relief money is credited directly to the account of the beneficiaries. PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan in Odisha as well, accompanied by CM Naveen Patnaik and Guv Ganeshi Lal. Financial assistance of Rs 500 Cr has been announced for the state. Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of deceased whereas Rs 50,000 to seriously injured has also been announced.

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PM Modi along with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in an aerial survey of Cyclone hit areas. PC: PTI

The eastern coastal States during the storm season every year face the wrath of nature as the unpreparedness of the states exposes the citizens to these calamities. The cyclone’s disastrous effects were anticipated, but even with reliable forecasts and preparatory moves by the National and State Disaster Response Force units, the impact was devastating and catastrophic. The loss of life and damage to livelihoods is still significantly irreparable in many parts.

Also Read: ICC Publishes Guidelines for Safe Resumption of Cricket

This has become an even more challenging situation as the nation is amid a lockdown and faces serious issues battling the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whereas it can be said that the battle against the virus may yet be won sooner or later, India must strengthen its disaster management especially in areas like Orissa and West Bengal which experience the wrath of such natural calamities almost every year. For a never-ending cycle of storms along its coastline, India needs better preparedness so that livelihood of people may be protected if not saved completely.

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Will Announce Resumption of More Trains to Take India Towards Normalcy: Railway Minister

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal says that it is time to take India towards normalcy

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Railway
The Union Minister for Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal visiting the Newly Coloured Coaches at New Delhi Railway Station, on April 25, 2018. Wikimedia Commons

Emphasising on the resumption of more train services in the coming days to transport more people across the country, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that more trains will be announced soon to take India towards normalcy, according to stories of india.

He also said that bookings of tickets will resume at 1.7 lakh common service centres from Friday.

The announcement comes a day after the Indian railways, which suspended the passenger, mail and express train services from March 25, announced to run 100 pairs of trains from June 1.

In a conversation with BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra, Goyal said, “Will announce resumption of more trains as it is time to take India towards normalcy.”

The Minister added that bookings will also resume at the counters of different stations in the next two to three days.

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The Railway bookings will resume at the counters of various stations in upcoming two-three days. Pixabay

“We are developing a protocol in this regard,” Goyal said.

Talking about the Shramik Special trains, Goyal said, “On May 20, 279 Shramik trains were run transporting over five lakh migrant labourers, students and trapped tourists to their homes.”

The railways started the Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists from May 1.

Till date the national transporter has operated over 1,600 Shramik Special trains Shramik transported over 25 lakh people across the country.

Hitting out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Railway Minister said, “Till date we have been able to run only 27 trains in West Bengal. Till May 8 or 9, only two trains could reach there.”

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The Railway started to run the 15 pairs of Special AC trains from May 12. Pixabay

The Railway Minister earlier has urged Banerjee and the Chief Ministers of other states to give clearance to the Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrant workers.

Also Read: UK’s Most Borrowed e-books Announced By Annual Library Amid Lockdown

The national transporter also started to run the 15 pairs of Special AC trains from May 12.

On Thursday, the bookings for the 100 pairs of trains opened and in the first three hours the railways sold 1.78 lakh tickets for 4.23 lakh passengers in 76 trains.

The tickets are being booked online through the IRCTC website and its mobile application.(IANS)

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Pandemic, Pandemonium and Booze 

Lockdown 3.0 sees long queues as liquor shops across the nation open

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People queue up to get alcohol amid lockdown across the country, Pixabay

By Varuni Trivedi

Monday, saw a nationwide brawl and chaos as the government relaxed the stringent lockdown. Serpentine queues outside liquor shops were a common sight as men and women flocked to stock up on booze amidst the third phase of lockdown. While the central government has issued clear guidelines on social distancing, it was adhered to in some places while others saw complete chaos. Some states have reported a high excise earning as the liquor sales soared high after relaxations.

As the Delhi government on Sunday announced implementing the latest lockdown relaxations suggested by Union Ministry of Home Affairs around 150 liquor shops located outside the coronavirus containment zones opened on Monday. To get their hands on booze people flouted social distancing norms, a liquor shop in New Delhi’s Malviya Nagar saw more than a hundred people lined up,  the Police were called to take charge of the situation. Many other cities saw a similar scenario, people had gathered outside shops as early as 6 am in the morning. In some places the situation got out of control and shops were shut by the owners before the set time. However, the sale of liquor in malls, restaurants and permit rooms is still prohibited across the nation during lockdown 3.0.

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Liquor sales soared on Monday amidst lockdown relaxation. Pixabay

Social distancing went down the gutters in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata too as people were seen in queues as long as 1 to 2kms outside liquor shops. In some cities, the Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge in order to get a hold of the situation. However, interestingly enough at some shops in Bengaluru staffers were seen thermal screening the customers in fear of COVID-19 spread. In UP’s Mirzapur a shopkeeper was seen showering petals on his customer.

According to the excise department Uttar Pradesh recorded a sale of over 100 crores on Monday itself, the Principal Secretary, Excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said: “I don’t think there would be any single industry with just less than one lakh workforce that gives ₹100 crore revenue (to the state exchequer) in a day”. Likewise, Karnataka’s excise department released a statement estimating the value of liquor sales on the first day to be around 450 million rupees. Mahasamund district’s women in Chhattisgarh staged a protest against the liquor shops opening condemning the government’s decision. Other places however saw a considerable number of women outside liquor shops. 

Also Read: Celebrities Across Country Question the Decision to Open Liquor Shops

The country saw a bittersweet situation where on one side the uncontainable happiness on the faces of customers was unmatchable while on the other side social distancing norms were flouted and the Police faced a tough time in managing the crowds. A lot of places witnessed utter chaos which led the owners to shut down the shops before time.

 

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West Bengal to Remain on a Lockdown Till 30 April

The state of West Bengal to remain on lockdown till the end of April says Mamata Banarjee

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Mamata Banerjee
Increase in lockdown duration in West Bengal state. Flickr

The West Bengal government here on Saturday extended the lockdown till April 30 to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Making the announcement to the media at the state secretariat Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the decision was taken after a video conference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Ministers.

Mamta Banerjee
Mamta Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Wikimedia Commons

“The Prime Minister said the lockdown will be extended till April 30. We all agreed. Thus, I have decided to extend the lockdown till April 30,” she said.

Also Read: Grocery Stores, Supermarkets Running Out of Supplies in NCR Region

The country has been under lockdown since March 23. It was scheduled to end on April 14. (IANS)