(Reuters) – A wild elephant went on a rampage in a village in India’s eastern West Bengal state on Wednesday, damaging around 100 structures, villagers said.
Video taken in the village of Ektiasal showed the beast wandering around and knocking over flimsy huts.
The elephant strayed into the village early in the morning and woke up villagers with its roaring.
“The elephant entered from a nearby forest area. It has destroyed many houses and people are scared and helpless,” villager Milan Saha said.
No injuries were reported.
Attacks by elephants have been on the rise in eastern India. Wildlife experts say the destruction of animal habitats in the country is one of the main reasons for the increase in encounters between wild animals and villagers in rural areas of India.
(Reporting by Reuters television; Writing by Jeremy Gaunt; Editing by Andrew Heavens). Video brought to you by NewsGram in collaboration with VOA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.