Kanyakumari: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Tuesday flew to Lakshadweep, Kerala and Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district that were battered by Cyclone Ockhi, assured to step up the rescue operation to trace the missing fishermen. He said efforts are on to bring home those stranded in foreign countries through the External Affairs Ministry. The PM did not specify the number of persons stranded in foreign countries. However, he turned emotional when saying, “India stands shoulder to shoulder with all those affected by Cyclone Ockhi”.
Tamil Nadu is seeking a central relief package of Rs 9,302 crore for rehabilitation efforts in the state from monsoon fury. Presenting a memorandum to M. Modi, Chief Minister Palaniswami said Tamil Nadu wanted the Centre to declare Ockhi as a “national disaster” on account of the ‘severity’ of the cyclone.
The CM said his government sought Rs 5,255 crore assistance towards implementing permanent rehabilitation measures in Kanyakumari and another Rs 4,047 crore to cater to other parts of the State, including Chennai, that were affected by the Northeast monsoon. Permanent measures would be taken to prevent recurrence of damage due to floods in Chennai and other coastal districts, Mr Palaniswami said.
“I am here to assure you that India stands shoulder to shoulder with all those affected by #CycloneOckhi. We will leave no stone unturned in the rescue and relief operations: PM @narendramodi to those affected by #CycloneOckhi,” he tweeted after visiting the cyclone ravaged places. From Lakshadweep where he was received by youngsters before his meeting with officials, he flew to Kerala and from there air-dashed to the Land's End - Kanyakumari. At 3 pm, the PM who arrived by a helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and others.
According to officials, the cyclone claimed 18 lives in Tamil Nadu while several others are still missing. Cyclone Ockhi struck the southern coasts on November 30.
In a series of tweets, the PMO said, “Some of our people are stranded in foreign nations. The MEA and various embassies are working to bring them back. Some people also got stranded on parts of India's western coast. We have rescued many of them: PM @narendramodi.” Another stated that the “Centre is providing all possible assistance. Navy and Coast Guard are monitoring the situation: PM @narendramodi #CycloneOckhi,” while yet another said, “Due to #CycloneOckhi, our farmers, fishermen and villages have been affected. When the cyclone struck, Defence Minister @nsitharaman had visited affected areas and taken stock of the situation: PM @narendramodi.”
PM who extensively reviewed the situation due to Ockhi, met cyclone victims, fishermen, farmers, officials and public representatives. The PM was also apprised of local fishermen's long-time demand for a special Air Force base with helipad facilities, the CM later told reporters. They also demanded an integrated fishing harbour with communication facilities and cold storage. “The Prime Minister said he will consider the demands”, Mr. Palaniswami informed.
Quoting the CM's memorandum to Mr. Modi, an official release said Tamil Nadu has sought an immediate release of Rs 747 crore towards rehabilitation efforts in Kanyakumari besides a hike in disaster relief assistance provided by the Central government in various areas, including towards loss of lives....