Cyclone Ockhi: ‘Missing people are catching fish, will return’

Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami visits Ockhi-hit villages, promises Rs 20 lakh relief

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 13, 2017 8:08 am
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami. (File Photo)

On his first visit to cyclone-hit coastal villages in Kanyakumari’s Thoothoor region in the wake of Ockhi, Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday promised compensation of Rs 20 lakh for the families of those who were killed and a government job for one of the family members. According to a senior official, Palaniswami made the promise at a meeting with priests from Thoothoor zone, families of missing persons and survivors. “About 300 people attended the meeting. Formal announcements will be released soon,” said the official.

Official figures of the missing people and boats remain unclear as there is no authentic data on the people on board boats that went missing. The official said they were depending on local priests and church authorities to figure out the number of missing people, who are mostly deep sea fishermen who left shores days and weeks before the cyclone hit the southern coast on November 30.

Thoothoor zone is unique for its deep sea fishermen, who spend more than a month at sea to catch shark and tuna. According to sources, the figures for the area are as follows: Four bodies of fishermen have been recovered. Some 84 people are “reportedly killed”. While 14 boats sank in the cyclone, 38 boats are missing. As each boat carries 10 to 15 people, local authorities estimate that at least 428 deep sea fishermen are still missing from Thoothoor villages alone. Some 37 country boats with overboard engines also sank, and 43 of them are missing.

A priest who attended the meeting with the CM said, “We would like to believe that all missing people are busy catching fish in the outer seas. We are sure they will come back before Christmas.”

Besides promising Rs 20 lakh for the victims’ kin and a job, the CM assured compensation of Rs 5,000 for all affected families amid protests by fishermen in villages bordering Kerala.

P Justin Antony, a fishermen leader who works with International Fishermen Development Trust in Kanyakumari, said the CM promised measures to modernise communication equipment with the help of a World Bank project. “Many boats and people are still missing. Since it was lack of communication systems that trapped fishermen in bad weather, our demand is not for advanced wireless sets with hardly 30 nautical mile range but double line satellite phones as we go to deep seas, beyond 100 nautical mile.”

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    1. S
      Dec 13, 2017 at 9:59 am
      70 years has passed India Independence--but nothing development has done in India at all any sector. If anywhere in India any big such problem would come in India then India people would finish, family would come in the road---what has development had happened in India in every sector under congress ruled last 70 years God only knows. last 3 years how cna Modi govt can do develop all these sector development all on a sudden.
      1. Suhas Gha
        Dec 13, 2017 at 8:53 am
        It is good that TN government gives 20L to each of the fisherman died in cyclone. But do we have to die to get compensation? If some one is injured or looses organ or becomesdisabled, why the compensation is less? Apart from this, what is seen, every where in country, compensation amount given varies from case to case, incident to incident. Why there is no uniformity in compensation given to natural calamity victims. Somewhere govts give 5 L, somewhere 10 L and somewhere 20L Why so? Apart from this, why governments can create an insurance for loss of life in the area where there is a threat of natural calamity. And what about the insurance for these people?
        1. Sankaran Krishnan
          Dec 13, 2017 at 8:09 am
          It is nothing but a shame on depending the Priests and Church authorities for the missing Fishermen and what role the Fishermen community and its leaders are doing and why not they are furnishing is the query ??? Also the Fishermen are all well acquainted with the weather during such monsoon havoc and they know more about than the Weathermen of IMD by their own experiences gained so far and why they had undertook for Fishing during such NE monsoon and having known very well that cyclone are all common during such months whereas now the Church Priests are playing Politics in the name of protest and rail blockade and the video shown they are outnumbered than the real fishermen is really astonishing !!!