Describing the situation in calamity-hit Joshimath as "very dangerous", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said the Centre must take steps on a war-footing to protect the resident of the tiny hill town in Uttarakhand.
Banerjee also said that the Union government should have taken preventive measures long ago, given the fact that "predictions of land subsidence in that area had been made earlier".
Drawing parallels, she said the Raniganj coal belt in Bengal's Paschim Bardhaman district might also face a similar fate as the area, there, too, is prone to subsidence.
"Why were necessary steps not taken despite warnings? The situation in Joshimath is very dangerous. The residents of the hill town are not responsible for this disaster. It is the duty of the government to take care of people if there is a disaster," Banerjee told reporters at the Kolkata airport before leaving for Alipurduar.
"The government must take steps on a war-footing so that people do not suffer," she added.
Expressing concern over the situation in Raniganj, Banerjee alleged that the Centre wasn't releasing funds, necessary for rehabilitating locals, and her government had been fighting for it over 10 years.
"At least 20,000 people could have died due to landslips, had we not built homes for them. Coal India is a central government concern," she said.
Notably, Banerjee had in 2020 announced that her government was constructing nearly 29,000 homes for rehabilitating people from landslide-prone areas in Raniganj coal belt.
The CM also voiced her apprehensions over the rampant construction work that was undertaken in the Hill region of the state before her party came to power.
State BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya, when contacted, claimed that held illegal mining has led to the present alarming situation in Raniganj.
"Illegal mining is the main reason for deteriorating the situation there in Raniganj. And the state government has also bear responsibility for the scenario there," Bhattacharya said.