Cyclone Ockhi: Search and rescue ops will continue until each and every fisherman is found, says Nirmala Sitaraman
Sitharaman, who visited the grieving families in Vizhinjam and Poonthura early Monday morning, told reporters here that she would apprise the union home and agriculture ministers of the situation.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced that the search and rescue operations will continue until each and every fisherman who went to sea from Kerala reaches home safely.
Sitharaman, who visited the grieving families in Vizhinjam and Poonthura early Monday morning, told reporters here that she would apprise the union home and agriculture ministers of the situation in Kerala. ''I assure all the people that the search and rescue operations will continue. We want to make sure that each and every fisherman who went from Kerala comes home safely,'' she said.
She pointed out that the boats that had gone out well before the cyclone warning was issued had been found 15 days after their departure with the fishermen alive. ''If boats which went 15 days ago can come back with fishermen alive, we will make every attempt to get everybody back,'' she said.
The search operations were launched on November 30. If anything, the number of ships and helicopters pressed into service to trace the missing fishermen has only increased, she said.
Sitharaman also said that she had agreed to the fishermen's demand that they too are allowed to accompany the ships and helicopters. ''I've agreed. In fact, 11 of them are already aboard the boats and helicopters that are going out today,'' she said.
Kerala can send its recommendations for compensation through the proper channels, she said in reply to a question. On whether there was any delay in the operations, she said she had spoken about it to the fishermen in distress.