Cyclone Ockhi: Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami requests PM for help, urges defence forces to intensify search

Giving the lowdown on the havoc caused by cyclone ‘Ockhi’, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct the Ministry of Defence to continue the

Published: 08th December 2017 02:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2017 07:42 AM   |  A+A-

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The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of defence forces to trace the missing fishermen. (EPS | Rajesh Shetty Ballalbagh)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Giving the lowdown on the havoc caused by cyclone ‘Ockhi’, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct the Ministry of Defence to continue the intensive search and rescue operations along the Arabian Sea coast and deep sea from Kanniyakumari up to Gujarat and Maldives to trace the missing fishermen from Tamil Nadu.

Appreciating the efforts of defence forces to trace the missing fishermen, the Chief Minister in a letter to the Prime Minister, said “Local fishermen and relatives of the missing fishermen, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard carried out search and rescue operations. I also had requested the defence to continue the search and rescue operations till the last fisherman is rescued.”

Stating that Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat had provided shelter and assistance to a large number of Tamil Nadu fishermen and fishing boats, Palaniswami thanked these States for their kind gesture.

Pointing out that the magnitude of the damage to power infrastructure, agriculture, including horticulture and plantation crops, road network, fisheries infrastructure, drinking water supply etc. in Kanniyakumari district is humongous, the Chief Minister said “This situation requires intervention by Government of India.”

“As an immediate measure, the Ockhi cyclone that severely affected Kanniyakumari District may be declared as a national disaster and necessary financial assistance may be provided for restoration of the infrastructure that was left in tatters by the gusting winds and torrential rains,” the Chief Minister said and added that a detailed memorandum would be submitted to the Government of India separately. “However, in this hour of crisis, we need your immediate benevolent support,” he added.

Giving details about Kanniyakumari district which is densely populated with fishermen, Palaniswami said “There are about 5,759 motorised fishing crafts and 1229 mechanised fishing boats operating from this district. Around 600 mechanised fishing boats go for multi day deep sea fishing voyages.”

The Chief Minister also pointed out that these boats had ventured into sea from various fishing bases located in the western coast for multi-day fishing, long before the onset of depression. Hence, the alert about the depression and subsequent ‘Ockhi’ cyclone could not be communicated to these fishermen, who were fishing in deep sea. Motorised traditional craft fishermen who were out at sea early in the morning of November 29 before the warning was issued, were also severely affected by the cyclone.

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