Kolkata-based private sector lender Bandhan Bank on Thursday estimated that about ₹260 crore of loans to 65,000 micro borrowers may have been impacted by cyclone Amphan that tore through parts of West Bengal and Odisha.
In a statement to the stock exchanges, the bank said it expects the Amphan-affected portfolio to regularise by the December quarter of FY21. “In our experience of Fani, the cyclone that caused large scale damage in Odisha in May 2019, the impacted portfolio took three-six months to achieve normalcy, aided by the committed workforce and customer loyalty," the statement said, adding that the major impact has been in the district of South 24 Parganas.
The very severe cyclonic storm hit the West Bengal coast with devastating force around 2:30 pm on Wednesday, wreaking havoc. The cyclone pounded the coast with winds of 155-165 kmph gusting up to 190kmph, accompanied by extremely heavy rain, uprooting trees, ripping away roofs, damaging cropland, tossing away boats, and inundating 15 km inland.
“As per the initial assessment, in our areas of operations, 49 banking units (micro banking outlet) in five districts were impacted of which 45 are operational today," the bank said.
Bandhan Bank said that it could continue operations in all but five branches in the affected districts and where the outlets could not continue services, it was due to issues in accessibility.
“We expect these outlets to resume operations shortly. The banking outlets in the areas which had received prior warning of the cyclone, were prepared with necessary safety and business continuity measures which enabled continuity of operations," it said.
News agency PTI reported on Thursday that at least 72 people have died in West Bengal due to Cyclone Amphan and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the affected districts and provide help to "rebuild those areas from scratch".