NAGERCOIL: A five-member team from the Centre took stock of the situation in the Ockhi-hit district on Thursday and pegged the number of missing fishermen in the State at 220, of which 170 were from Kanniyakumari. The district suffered huge loss in terms of life and property in the first week of December and the rescue operations are still underway. While the State had sought Rs 876 crore fund relief in the first phase, a Centre aid of `133 crore alone has been sanctioned.
Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Revenue Administration Dr K Satyagopal said, “As many as eight officials from the Centre visited Tamil Nadu. Five members are visiting cyclone Ockhi affected areas in Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli on Thursday and Friday. Team members, including joint director of Ministry of Home Affairs Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, Fisheries Development Commissioner of Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries P Paul Pandian, Deputy Director of Ministry of Power CEA OP Suman, Chartering Officer of Ministry of Shipping Parameshwar Bali, and Director of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Directorate of Jute Development K Manoharan. A report will be submitted to the Central government after the inspection. So far, the NDMA has sanctioned `133 crore for the relief measures while officials pegged the amount at Rs 876 crore. A report be filed and analysed.”
As many as 41 fishermen from other districts while 17 from Kerala are still missing. “During PM Modi’s visit, the number of missing fishermen in TN was 329. We expected them all to be back by Christmas. However, we will wait till New Year. At present, the fate of 35 fishermen from 13 boats is yet to be known.
A five-member committee with Animal Husbandry, Dairies and fisheries Principal secretary K Gopal, Revenue Principal Secretary B. Chandramohan, Fisheries Director VP Thandapani and Gagandeep Singh Bedi would be formed to discuss the situation and steps to be taken to address their issues. Compensation will be provided to the affected from a State government special package,” said Satya Gopal.
The team initially held discussions on the cyclone at Government Higher Secondary School in Kollamcode and viewed pictures of the affected areas on Thursday. Later, the teams visited Thoothur and Vallavilai villages, where it split into three to visit different places.
Nirmala presented dated figures in Parliament
While Defence Minister Nirmala Sithraman had submitted a report giving a different set of numbers, the numbers have changed as over time many fishermen have returned, said Principal Secretary of Agriculture Gagandeep Singh Bedi on Thuraday. Sitharaman had told Lok Sabha on Wednesday that 661 fishermen were still missing and 400 were from Tamil Nadu. Bedi told Express, “Every day fishermen are returning to the shores so the number of fishermen missing gets updated. As per updated figures, 220 fishermen are missing.”