THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The selfless services rendered by fishermen during floods in the state are unparalleled, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said on Wednesday. He was inaugurating the state government’s official ceremony to felicitate fishermen across the state, who have taken part in the rescue operations in flood-affected regions. “A big salute to all fishermen from Kerala. Their service was exemplary. When the government decided to seek the service of fishermen for rescuing the stranded people, they came forward without a second thought. This was a great gesture and their efforts had even boosted the self-confidence of many stranded persons in floods,” Vijayan said.
“Our people have overcome the disaster to an extent. The unity witnessed in relief operations gave us the strength to overcome any natural disaster. Not only fishermen, the young generation has come forward largely in rescue and relief operations. Then, we can’t forget the service of defence and paramilitary forces. All of them worked and united to overcome it. Though our state has been hit badly, we don’t sit and cry in homes. We will work harder and harder with the resilience to rebuild the state into a great place than it was before”, Vijayan said.
Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan presided over the function. He said that the ‘strong interventions’ made by fishermen in rescue operations helped the state ease out the relief operations to a greater extent. “Fishermen led from the front in rescue operations and eventually scripted history. The government’s instructions have been implemented by the fishermen successfully,” he said.
Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma offered all financial assistance to the damaged boats and the families of fishermen who suffered any loss. “Our government will build houses for those fishermen whose houses were destroyed,” she said. Chief Secretary Tom Jose welcomed the gathering. Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, Industries Minister E P Jayarajan, Waterworks Minister Mathew T Thomas, Shashi Tharoor MP, V S Sivakumar MLA, M Vincent MLA, K A Anselean MLA, C K Hareendran MLA, Mayor V K Prasanth, and district panchayat president V K Madhu took part. As many as 4,537 fishermen were part of the rescue operations and 669 boats were used. As per the government’s statistics, around 65,000 were rescued by fishermen alone.
Protest by Kozhikode fishermen
A group of fishermen from Kozhikode created a furore just before the function. They alleged that their names were ignored by the government in inviting them for the function. However, they were dispersed following the intervention of Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma. She said that all fishermen will be felicitated in district-level programmes.