Bangla villagers lend a helping hand to Sunderbans folks

 “We survived because they (Bangladeshis) sent boat-loads of drinking water, chira and gur from the second day after the devastation. We’re grateful to them,” Saroj Gayen, one of the survivors of the Aila holocaust told Deccan Herald here on Wednesday. “Even now, the relief dispatch from the North 24 Parganas district administration is awfully inadequate.”

Gayen’s claim was echoed by nearly everyone in the make-shift refugee camp at Hingalganj, about 85 km from Kolkata. After the dykes gave in and the sea water began flooding village after village,  several people frantically reached for their boats to sail off to the other side of the Ichamati river in Bangladesh to save themselves from the cylone’s fury. At least, 10,000 people have still been camping there in camps of Bangladesh, one of the refugees claimed. “Even, the BDR didn’t object,” he said.

The hapless people have been keeping their fingers crossed in view of the high tide on June 6. With nearly 450 kms of riverine embankment having been washed away, there is every possibility of a flooding of the region once again. 

Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi who cut short his vacation in Darjeeling, drove straight to Sandeshkhali on Wednesday to have an on-the-spot assessment of  the devastation inflicted by the cyclone Aila and stressed the need for relief operations on a national scale and reinforcing the embankments in a massive way.

Meanwhile, the state chief secretary A K Chakraborty who spoke to the union cabinet secretary, said the Centre has agreed to rush Army and Indian Air Force personnel to help expedite the relief and repair works. More speed boats have been requisitioned by the administration to meet the exigency, official sources said.

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