Mamata calls for Army's aid in cyclone relief, five columns dispatched

Much of Kolkata remains without electricity, with roads blocked from fallen trees

Indian-Army-Cyclone-Relief-Kolkata-Amphun-1 Indian Army clearing the roads of fallen trees in Kolkata | Indian Army

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged the centre to deploy the Army in Kolkata for the rescue operation in the city after Cyclone Amphun. 

Even after 72 hours, Kolkata continues to reel under darkness with no water supply. Many residents are getting angry and even hitting the road. 

Today, many senior ministers went out and faced the irate mobs who had come out of their houses to demand immediate restoration of utility services.

Neither the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), the transmission department in Kolkata nor the corporation had any idea how to restore services, as the blame game continued.

cyclone-Amphan-bus-kolkata-salil A fallen tree split a truck in half | Salil Bera

Finally, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee swung into action and decided to call for central help.

Sources said the defence ministry promptly accepted the CM's request and Eastern Command readied their columns to start rescue operations.

Large parts of the city are blocked by big trees that have fallen, breaking many electric poles in the process. 

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar coordinated with the union defence minister Rajnath Singh to bring the Army into action. In a rare move, he praised Banerjee for her actions, tweeting, "A good move @MamataOfficial to seek support and assistance of Army. These are trying time and appeal to people to keep calm. Authorities must restore connectivity, electricity and other services at the earliest."

Eastern command said five army columns are being deployed by the army across the city of Kolkata. 

"It has been done as per request of state government," said a senior army official. 

The columns are located at Tollygunge, Ballygunj, Rajarhat and New Town, Diamond Harbour and Behala. Except Rajarhat and New Town all are in South Kolkata.

"Our columns are on the streets with tree and road clearance equipment," said the officer.