Kolkata: Reacting sharply to a reported statement of a Union minister, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said providing relief to the flood-hit people was her government's first priority and an assessment of the damage caused by the floods would be done later.
"Someone has said a state has to submit a memorandum to the Centre to get funds for floods. Providing relief to those affected by the flood is our first priority and the total damage would be estimated later", she told reporters at the secretariat here, without naming the Union minister.
"As the flood situation improved in south Bengal, we were in the process of assessing the magnitude of damage there, when the flood was reported from north Bengal. Now, our first job is to rescue the people. They are in danger and we have to stand by them and save them first", she added.
Stressing that the state required central funds to tackle the situation, Banerjee said the estimation could only be done after the water receded from the affected districts.
The chief minister said the rescue operations would continue and her government would provide an estimation of the damage caused by the floods in the state only after conducting a survey.
"We have to conduct a survey before providing them (Centre) with the information. Without a survey, no information can be shared", she said.
On 10 August, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Saugata Roy had alleged in Parliament that while funds for flood-hit Gujarat and Assam, both ruled by the BJP, were released, no such announcement was made regarding West Bengal.
Since 21 July, the floods had claimed 32 people in north Bengal, she added.
At this, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had said the Centre did not discriminate and financial assistance from the state disaster response fund had already been given to West Bengal in two instalments.
Banerjee also asked the transport department to run more buses to help the people.
Officials in the state's disaster management department said the floods in West Bengal had so far claimed 95 lives, with 63 deaths reported from south Bengal and 32 so far from north Bengal.
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Updated Date: Aug 17, 2017 07:49:57 IST