Amphan Diaries, 2nd June

Residents of Kachua panchayat in Basirhat II have resorted to street protests because of not getting access to electricity, even 10-12 days after the cyclone. They have, reportedly met the high monetary demands (Rs 200-500 per person) of the workers with government tender amidst difficulties because of the lockdown and still not get the services and that is understood to be the cause of their anger.

1) Residents of Kachua panchayat in Basirhat II have resorted to street protests because of not getting access to electricity, even 10-12 days after the cyclone. They have, reportedly met the high monetary demands (Rs 200-500 per person) of the workers with government tender amidst difficulties because of the lockdown and still not get the services and that is understood to be the cause of their anger.
“The people are angry because despite their monetary problems, they paid the money to have their electricity restored but they haven’t still received it.
Rabindranath Biswas, a social worker from Seth Bagan Mahila Sangha (SBMS)- a community-based organisation (CBO), reports. Similar incidents have been reported in two other blocks- Bonga and Basirhat I as well. Earlier on Sunday, the residents of Bibipur-Begumpur panchayat collected money amongst themselves and had 10-12 electric poles fixed by a guy they contacted for the job.

2) Rabindranath further reports one of the good works that the police have done, both pre and post Amphan is to ensure that the migrant workers, who have been returning for some time now, are kept in quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to return to their families. ” Matia police station took this initiative where they have gone around families, checking whether there are any migrant workers or not and have made it clear to the people to report if any labour returns home. The people also are cooperating with the police and have become much more careful about COVID-19.

3) Over 5 lakh families, who have suffered due to the ravages of cyclone, will be given relief by the Bengal government, as declared on Friday, 30 May. The chief minister Mamata herself transferred Rs 20,000 to the families directly. It is also to be noted that another 3 lakh farmers would get Rs 1,500 per acre of compensation for the land that was destroyed in the cyclone.

4) Relief kits were delivered to four people affected by the cyclone in Basanti and three in Canning I on Tuesday, reports social worker Amina Laskar, a social worker at Birangana Seva Samity (BBSS). On Monday these kits were distributed in four villages under Basanti Block, namely Shatkaura, Titkumar, Chatrakhali and Kathalberia villages.

5) With an eye on child marriage and child trafficking cases that are expected to rise post Amphan, the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) on Tuesday, set up a desk and helpline numbers for dealing with such kind of complaints.

6) Money-lending is one of the areas where exploitation and malpractices have been increasing after the cyclone and reports suggest that as much as 5-6% interest rate is charged per month, which amounts to 60-96% per annum.
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7) Amina, on Tuesday, reported a case of minor girl being raped in Basanti after going missing for some days. The police, who have earlier declined to register such complaints, have taken a complaint this time but are yet to take any action.

8) The CBOs, also have taken quite a hit during the cyclone and despite the social workers having their own houses damaged or destroyed, they are vying for relief for the others, who also have been affected by the people. Jinnatun Nahar a social worker from Seth Bagan Mahila Sangha, shares, “I think it is that mentality of we shall overcome and grow together, that keeps us going.”
Despite not being able to meet duty-bearers face-to-face, she adds on a lighter note that they have made quite a habit of connecting to people over phones and so it doesn’t make any difference!

By | Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 | |

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