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23 Apr 2018

Jalpaiguri rivals troop in to offer storm relief...Parties pledge assistance

A mango tree that toppled and fell on the roof of a house in Dhupguri. Picture by Main Uddin Chsti
TT, Jalpaiguri: Leaders across party lines are making a beeline to offer relief to people hit by storms in the Dhupguri block of Jalpaiguri district at a time the rural poll model code seems to be limiting government intervention.
A hailstorm swept through Baroghoria, Patkidaho and Jakaikona villages in Dhupguri on Saturday, knocking down trees and flattening huts.
In Magurmari-II GP also people suffered a lot. Local officials reached the affected areas and started making lists to calculate losses.
Local TMC leaders were also on the spot and assured everyone that if assistance does not come through now, the compensation will be given after the rural polls.
Soon after, CPM leaders trooped in, promising the people that they will arrange relief and compensation. Leaders of both parties started working block officials. Both sides claimed that they had brought the block officials to the affected areas.
On Sunday, TMC and CPM leaders continued to stream into Dhupguri.
They assured the poor that they would indeed receive compensation from the administration.
Surprisingly, BJP leaders were conspicuous by their absence. The TMC and CPM campaigned in the affected areas on Sunday. A large number of home appliances and crops were damaged in the squall.
Sahidul Mohammad of Jakaikona village said: "A tree fell on the roof of my bedroom where my son was sleeping. As the shed was damaged, my son was injured in the led. We removed the tree and rescued my son and took him to hospital."
Dipu Roy, a local TMC leader, said the party maintained "close contact with the people" through the year, particularly in distress. "This time also, we will win and we don't need campaign when people are in distress."
Rajkumar Roy, a CPM leader, claimed the party leaders had not come to "campaign".
"We are here not to campaign. People were with us and will be with us. We are here just to help them nothing else. We appeal Block administration to provide relief to the affected people immediately because in case of natural calamity there is no restriction of election commission."
Sumedha Pradhan, the ADM of Jalpaiguri, said: "In case of natural calamities, the block administration can easily distribute relief after making a proper list of affected people and there is no restriction imposed by the election commission."

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