Five columns of the Army have been deployed in parts of Kolkata on Sunday following a request by the West Bengal government to restore normalcy after the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan.
Each column, having 35 personnel and divided into small teams, started working from Saturday night.
At present, Army personnel are located in Ballygunje, Southern Avenue near lake, Salt Lake, Parnashree, Behala according to a communication from the Eastern Command.
They are mainly engaged in cutting the trees and clearing the roads so that electricity can be restored which remains the key problem in the city and south Bengal districts over the last 72 hours.
Many parts of Kolkata are in complete darkness and at least 5,000 trees were uprooted in the city.
The residents of various areas in south and north Kolkata blocked the roads on Saturday evening.
Anwar Shah Road, Panchanantala, Behala, Bijaygarh, Parnashree, Garia, Jadavpur are some of the congested areas of south Kolkata where roads were blocked by the residents demanding restoration of power and water supply.
On Sunday morning, the Army team engaged in cutting trees in Parnashree faced some trouble. Electric wires were entangled in the trees and the Army personnel were not sure if wires were carrying electricity. But Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) employees were not present to test the wires and the delay led to the residents staging a protest.
In few places, employees of the CESC were targeted.
Lorry set afire
In Garia, some CESC employees were beaten up, while police vehicles were attacked too. In Titagarh, in North 24 Paraganas, a loaded lorry was set on fire.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the people to “give some time.”
“225 teams working day and night. 36 teams of NDRF will work (from Sunday). 26 are already deployed. This is a big disaster. Please do not provoke people…it will take a little time but services will be restored very soon,” Ms. Banerjee said.
People are taking to social media to narrate their trauma.
Suparna Pathak, a former business news editor, complained of “unprecedented lack of planning” in his neighbourhood, Panchasayar, in south-eastern Kolkata.
“There is total chaos. CESC staff complained about unprecedented lack of planning despite adequate warning. Panchasayar cooperative — largest land cooperative — spent its own money to clear roads to ease traffic flow. Government has no clue about the task. Army should have been called in earlier. With arguably the densest concentration of octogenarians [Panchasayar has] no power, water is trickling in and the survival infrastructure is running entirely on local initiative. Getting mobiles charged is about travelling to the nearest point where there is electricity,” noted Mr. Pathak.
Ashish Ghosh, a Bansdroni resident, said that his severely asthmatic wife Jharna Ghosh could not be given oxygen.
“There is no power and the oxygen concentrator cannot function, neither the nebuliser. It is so much traumatic to sleep next to her; (it) appears that she may not able to breathe at times,” octogenarian Mr. Ghosh said.