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KOLKATA: A strike has been called by “the people of the Sunderbans” on May 25, the first anniversary of cyclone Aila, demanding permanent embankments on the islands, Kanti Ganguly, West Bengal's Minister for Sunderbans Affairs, said here on Monday.
The Sunderbans were the worst affected in the wake of Aila that struck the State on May 25 last year claiming 137 lives and inundating vast stretches of land in the region. The fertility of the soil has been severely affected as a result of inundation by saline water which forced its way into the fields through collapsed earthen embankments. “The building of permanent embankments along a 3,500- km stretch in the Sunderbans should be taken up as a national issue”, Mr Ganguly said.
The strike has been called in protest against the Centre's “apathy” towards the people living in the Sunderbans. Even a year after the cyclone struck, no long-term measures for rehabilitation of the people have come through, Subhash Naskar, the State's Minister for Irrigation said.
The Ganga Flood Control Committee has cleared the State's proposal for a Rs. 5,032-crore project for building permanent embankments in the region. However, the Finance Commission only released a sum of a little over Rs. 1,000 crores on March 30, Mr. Naskar said.
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