On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is travelling to West Bengal and Odisha to gauge the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan, which caused wreckage in the states on Wednesday. He will be taking stock of the damage through an aerial survey.
This will be the prime minister's first travel In nearly three months, officials said. His last tour was to Prayagraj and Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh on February 29.
PM Modi has been following lockdown orders that were first announced on March 25 in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the nationwide lockdown has been extended thrice even as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the country. Friday recorded the biggest jump in the total number of cases with 6.088 new infections reported in a single day.
According to officials, the Cyclone Amphan is a national emergency, which is why the PM has decided to step out for the first time in 83 days. He will go to Kolkata and 24 North Parganas in West Bengal, they said.
“He will conduct aerial surveys and take part in review meetings, where aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a tweet on Thursday night.
Cyclone Amphan that struck West Bengal has left 72 people dead and thousands homeless. It also wreaked havoc in Odisha damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone storm has now weakened and moved to Bangladesh.
Modi's decision to visit West Bengal comes hours after the state's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pitched for central assistance and appealed to PM Modi to visit the cyclone-hit areas.
“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, Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.