KANYAKUMARI: A total of 462 fishermen from Kanyakumari district are missing in the aftermath of cyclone Ockhi, District Collector Sajjan Singh R Chavan said today.
"As per particulars collected 35 fishermen who put out to sea in country boats and 427 fishermen in trawlers are missing in the aftermath of the cyclone," he told reporters here, days after Ochki struck the Tamil Nadu coast, wrecking damage, particularly in this district.
He said most fishermen reported missing had been rescued due to the efforts of the Navy, Coast Guard and coastal Marine police The search was going on for the other 462 fishermen.
The Collector said fishermen plying their trade in deep seas used to stay there for between 10 to 45 days and it was not known where some of them had strayed.
He said relief for the fishermen would be credited directly into their accounts.
The Collector's figure on the number of missing fishermen comes amid charges by the opposition DMK that different figures were being put out by various officials in the state government and Ministers.
Earlier in the day, DMK working president M K Stalin announced that the party would stage a protest in chennai tomorrow, urging the Centre and state government to expedite rescue of missing Kanyakumari fishermen.
In Chennai, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar reiterated the government's commitment to rescue the "last of the fishermen" stranded in sea and elsewhere.
Search operations involving the Indian Navy and Coast Guard was on in full-swing for this purpose,he told reporters.
Meanwhile, protests were held by fishermen associations in parts of Kanyakumari and in Tirunelveli district, demanding that the Centre and state speed up efforts to rescue missing fishermen.
Among their demands were that the Chief Minister visit cyclone affected areas and make an on-the-spot assessment of the damage, compensation of Rs 25 lakh for deceased fishermen and Rs five lakh for affected families.
The fishermen also demanded an increase in compensation given to them and that the relief announced by the Tamil Nadu government was not commensurate with losses suffered by them.
On December 7, Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased fishermen and Rs five lakh to those fishermen affected by the cyclone and unable to pursue their profession.