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Aftermath of cyclone Ockhi: Kerala to maintain fishermen registry, install GPS in vessels

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan made the announcement after a cabinet meeting amid confusion over number of people went missing after the cyclone hit the state.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2017 14:59 IST
Ramesh Babu K C
Ramesh Babu K C
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Cyclone Okchi,Pinarayi Vijayan,Kerala chief minister
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan rules out any lapses on the part of the state government in carrying out relief and rescue operations after cyclone Okchi hit the state. (PTI File picture )

The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to maintain a registry of its fishermen and install GPS and other tracking as well as life-saving gadgets on their vessels to limit damages in the wake of natural calamities like cyclone.

The move comes amid confusion over number of fishermen went missing after cyclone Ockhi lashed the state’s coast on November 30.

The state’s Left Democratic Front government claimed 92 persons were missing while the Latin Catholic church that wields much influence among Kerala’s fishermen community put the figure at over 200.

“We have decided to maintain a registry (of fishermen) and install life-saving devices in their vessels. We have also announced a cyclone relief package for them. It was an unexpected calamity,” chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced after a cabinet meeting.

He reiterated that the state government did not receive any prior warning on the impending cyclone, hinting that the central agencies were to be blamed for the loss of lives and properties in the state.

“We received the first warning on the noon of November 30. By the time warning came, cyclone started lashing the state’s coast. We need to be alerted at least three days in advance to carry out relief works,” he said ruling out any lapse on the part of the state government.

Even the central ministers did not make any such charges, he added.

The state government’s rescue and relief efforts came under fire from the residents of coastal belt who staged protests, alleging the response to the crisis was tardy.

Meanwhile, a joint rescue team saved 46 fishermen marooned along Kerala and Lakshadweep coasts while two more bodies were recovered, taking the death toll in the state to 33.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the rescue operations will continue till the last man is saved from the sea even as the Left parties accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being indifferent to the plight of the cyclone victims from southern states.

“He had no time to address people from the southern states who bore the maximum brunt of the cyclone, but took to tweeter to appeal for help when it was expected to land in his own state,” said CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

“He is the Prime Minister of the country and not the PM of Gujarat,” he added.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 14:21 IST