Cyclone Ockhi: Kerala seeks special package to tide over loss due to calamity

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala will seek a special financial package from the Centre to rehabilitate families affected by Cyclone Ockhi and ensure safety of the coastal region.

A decision in this regard was taken at an all party meeting here today to discuss the steps taken by the state for rescue of fishermen stranded at sea and situation in the aftermath of the cyclone that hit the coast on 29 and 30 November.

The general consensus arrived at the meeting was to ask for a financial package on the lines of the one the Centre announced for Tsunami victims in 2004, an official release said.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The meeting decided to set up an 'Ockhi Rehabilitation Relief fund' to help cyclone victims and urged government employees, institutions and organisations to contribute towards the fund.

At the meeting, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government would consider providing jobs for one member in families of those fishermen who died in the disaster.

Kerala Matsyafed and agencies under the Fisheries department would be considered to provide jobs, Vijayan said.

Children in the affected areas, who had faced mental agony, would be given special counselling and coaching to attend final year school exams.

Cyclone Ockhi had claimed 37 lives in the state and 19 bodies have been identified, Vijayan said.

A total of 96 fishermen were still missing and search for them was continuing, he said, adding, the state government functioned in coordination with the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, CPM State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI state secretary Kannam Rajendran and BJP leader O Rajagopal, MLA, were among those who attended the meeting held at the state secretariat.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswamy thanked Vijayan for rescuing fishermen from Tamil Nadu.

In a related development, the Latin Catholic Church said they would stage protests till the last missing fisherman was brought back to the shore.

Kerala PCC President MM Hassan alleged that even though the India Meteorological Department had issued warning 24 hours before the cyclone hit Kerala, officials of the state and state disaster management authority had committed serious lapse in not taking adequate steps to put out the warning.

Penal action should be taken against them, he said at the meeting.

He also wanted the chief minister to tender a public apology for the government's alleged failure in facing the cyclone crisis.

BJP leader O Rajagopal also flayed the government's "inept" handling of the situation and wanted a comprehensive inquiry into it.

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Updated Date: Dec 08, 2017 20:56:47 IST

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