Thiruvananthapuram: Rejecting the state government's defence that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had not given a cyclone warning, the IMD officials maintain that cyclone had not hit the Kerala coast and hence did not invoke the protocols for a cyclone alert here. According to IMD sources, the cyclone was about 170 kilometres away from Kerala coast, and the cyclone alert protocol needs to be invoked only in case it may hit Kerala within 48 hrs. There was no such situation until November 30.
Chief secretary K. M. Abraham said in a statement on Wednesday that a message from the IMD on November 29 at 11.50 a.m. said there would be 45-55 kmph wind along Kerala coast and hence fishermen should be 'advised to avoid venturing' into the sea'. Another message by November 29 afternoon (at 2.24 p.m.) stated that fishermen should be 'advised not to venture' into the sea.
A couple of similar messages came on the same evening and next morning, but the cyclone alert was given only by noon on November 30. Mr Abraham said these types of alerts of heavy winds and advisory to fishers not to venture into the sea were quite frequent during this season, and hence it was communicated to the fishermen through the usual modes like media. IMD sources said that they could only tell the government to advise the fishermen not to venture into the sea and it was for the state to enforce it . "Cyclone had never hit Kerala and the maximum wind recorded in the state during these days was 63 kmph for three minutes. The wind was there in the sea only on Nov 29, and hence we issued a fishermen warning,” IMD officials said.