MADURAI: The Madras High Court today directed the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to inform it about the fate of 551 fishermen from Kanyakumari region who are reported missing in the aftermath of cyclone Ochki.
Issuing notices on a petition filed by a resident of Kanyakumari district, which bore the brunt of the cyclone fury, justices R Subbiah and A D Jagadish Chandra ordered the two governments to submit their replies by December 22.
Petitioner Anto Lenin submitted that thousands of fishermen had ventured into the sea on November 29-30 from Kanyakumari district when the cyclone hit southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast.
He contended that both the central and state governments failed to issue cyclone warning to the fishermen. Those involved in deep sea fishing were not aware of the cyclone and got trapped.
He also alleged the governments did not take steps to trace them using helicopter immediately after the cyclone. Had they pressed in the helicopters on the next day of the cyclone, the fishermen in deep sea could have been rescued, he argued.
The petitioner claimed that according to a survey conducted between December 3-11, it was found that 551 fishermen were missing.
The fishermen's families are anxious about their fate, he said and sought the court's direction to the governments to trace and them.