KANYAKUMARI: The Central team visiting Kanyakumari district to assess the damages caused by cyclone Ockhi on Thursday, faced the fishermen’s wrath at Thoothur, where they demanded that the team members visit their coastal hamlets to get first hand information about the loss incurred by the fishing community in the deep south.
The five-member Central team led by Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, joint secretary, Union Home ministry comprising Central government officers, Parameshwar Bali, chartering officer, ministry of Shipping and Ports, O P Suman, deputy director, Power ministry, Dr Paul Pandian, Union Fisheries Development commissioner and Dr K Manoharan, Jute Development director, along with high profile State government officials, started their damage assessment work at Thoothur village, where the affected fishermen were made to gather at St Jude's college to pour out their grievances to the visiting team.
However, the fishermen strongly registered their condemnation for the much delayed visit of the Central team.
“Had they come earlier, immediately, they could have got the real picture of the disaster caused by the cyclone,” they said. The aggrieved fishermen demanded the team to speed up the process of rescuing around 188 of their kin still remain missing since November 30.
“We don’t want your condolences and compensations but swift action to save the lives of our missing brethren,” said the fishermen, who too charged the State government with being lethargic in identifying the bodies of dead fishermen kept in the government hospitals in nearby Kerala.
Presenting a memorandum on behalf of the affected coastal community, Parish priest Rev Andrew Joseph Julius and Rev Fr Darwin of St Mary's church, Vallavilai, stressed the importance of rehabilitation of the fishermen's families who have been pushed to uncertainty by the loss of their bread winners.
The Central team also inspected the most affected coastal hamlets of Vallavilai and Poothurai, after which the members were split into three smaller groups to cover the entire affected parts of the district.
Accompanied by Tamil Nadu Fisheries secretary, Mr. Gopal, the team members, Dr Paul Pandian and Parameshwar Bali visited the affected coastal hamlets of Eraviputhanthurai, Chinnathurai, Vallavilai, Thoothur and Poothurai and interacted with the local fishermen.
The central Jute development director, Dr K Manoharan along with the Tamil Nadu principal secretary and State Agricultural Production commissioner, Gagandeep Singh Bedi inspected the crop damages at Kalpadi, Padmanabapuram and Chitrancode villages.
The third team comprising Sanjeev Kumar Jindal and O P Suman, along with the state principal secretary and revenue administration commissioner, Dr K Satyagopal, assessed the damages caused by the cyclone in the power sector in the district.
Earlier in the morning, the Central team had discussions with the State officials including the Kanyakumari district collector, Sajjan Singh R Chawan at the Kollancode government higher secondary school, where the team was explained about the damages with a power-point presentation.