Cyclone Amphan that tore into West Bengal on Wednesday has killed 72 people, devastated two districts as Kolkata and has left a trail of destruction in many parts of the State. Speaking to Sakal Times/GT residents of Kolkata share their trauma as they grapple with the aftermath of this “never seen in lifetime” cyclone.
There are uprooted trees strewn in various parts of the capital city. Kolkata Municipal Corporation have made arrangements to cut the broken tree branches, but they have not been cleared from the roads.
“Roads are still blocked, which is restricting vehicular movement. This has disrupted milk supply and other essential food items, which we get from the local Mother Dairy shop. We had stocked up on some bread and other food items, so we have some food left at home,” said homemaker and South Kolkata resident Sushmita Dasgupta.
Electricity still has not been restored. People are experiencing power outage since May 20, 5 pm.
“We had to buy drinking water because there’s little water left in the water reservoir at home, and with no electricity we can’t switch on the pump. We are saving it for cooking and other absolutely essential purposes. Mobile phones are not working and there’s no internet connection. Landlines are working so that’s the only way we are staying in touch with others,” Dasgupta added.
Power restoration worked hasn’t started in many areas. According to residents, the municipal corporation has just cleared the trees from the main road; they haven’t yet come into the lanes.
“Everywhere we look around, there’s uprooted trees, wires lying here and there. We can’t see a single tree left in Deshapriya Park, which is near Gariahat, where we live. Till Friday, lifts weren’t working, and a relative of mine had to go dialysis, but we had to cancel the plan. We somehow managed to call local technicians who have repaired the lift for now. It’s been quite difficult for everyone and hope this phase will pass on too,” says Rochana Majumdar.
“13 trees have fallen down within a stretch of 200m on Panchanan Dey road, taking down multiple electric poles with them. The whole area has been without electricity since Amphan hit on the evening of May 20,” says Tirtharaj Chowdhary, student and resident of Jadavpur area in Kolkata.
Chowdhary has no idea when people will actually get back power.
“Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) had come only to turn off power to prevent further fire hazards. The trees have not yet been cleared out. Some buildings were damage when the trees fell, and the situation hasn’t changed since,” he says.
West Bengal is on the edge of uncertainty with destruction rounding it from all the sides. The entire city is devastated.
“The damage caused is unreal and scary. Southern Avenue experienced massive destruction. If one takes a walk through the streets of Lake Road, all one will witness is a stretch of uprooted trees blocking the way. A local tea-seller’s joint was completely turned into debris heap as a result of the uprooting of a huge tree. The hoarding of the famous lake mall stands half-broken as a result of the strong wind,” Aditi Singh, a student, says.
Neha Ghosh, Cafe owner, Blue Mug café from Jodhpur Park locality says several trees were uprooted causing lot of loss.
“A chicken shop in the same area got crumbled by an uprooted tree. This has led to road blockage which is giving tough times to the residents in availing the road towards the nearby vegetable markets,” Ghosh says, adding, “Amphan along with COVID-19 makes it as the darkest phase in the State’s history.”
To see her city devasted by the storm is really heart-wrenching. “What is more pathetic is to see making people memes about it. West Bengal had stood with all other States when they were going through rough times, and now that our State is suffering we expect people to understand what we are going through instead of making a mockery of it,” says Mahima Dey, an entrepreneur from Tollygunge area.
(Inputs by Tania Roy, Debarati Palit Singh and Anwesha Ghosh)