Fish­er­folk, kin take to streets in Kan­niyaku­mari

Train ser­vices af­fected as pro­test­ers block tracks; Chief Min­is­ter an­nounces en­hanced re­lief pack­age, in­clud­ing so­latium of ₹10 lakh, for the kin of the de­ceased

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

An­gry over al­leged lack of ef­forts to res­cue Ockhi-hit fish­er­men, thou­sands of vil­lagers of fish­ing ham­lets staged a mas­sive road-cum-rail roko ag­i­ta­tion in Kan­niyaku­mari dis­trict the whole of Thurs­day. Later in the evening, Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K. Palaniswami an­nounced a se­ries of mea­sures to mit­i­gate their hard­ship. He also an­nounced en­hance­ment of so­latium for the kin of the de­ceased fish­er­men to ₹10 lakh (from ₹4 lakh), in­clud­ing ₹2 lakh in­sur­ance to the fam­i­lies.

Ear­lier in the day, Dis­trict Col­lec­tor Sa­j­jans­ingh R. Cha­van held talks with the pro­test­ers. How­ever, the fisher folk, who had trekked long dis­tances since the morn­ing and blocked train move­ment in Kulithu­rai rail­way sta­tion, re­fused to re­lent.

They de­manded in­tense search op­er­a­tions by the In­dian Navy and the Coast Guard in the deep seas to lo­cate the fish­er­men who are miss­ing even af­ter sev­eral days of the cy­clone.

They al­leged that the searches were con­ducted only close to the coast and not in the deep seas where th­ese fish­er­men usu­ally go for fish­ing. They called off the ag­i­ta­tion late in the night only af­ter the Col­lec­tor promised that the CM would come and meet them.

Train ser­vices be­tween Thiruvananthapuram and Nagercoil were paral­ysed due to the ag­i­ta­tion. Two train ser­vices were can­celled and five were par­tially can­celled, said Rail­way of­fi­cials.

Gov­ern­ment’s ges­ture

Fisher lead­ers here say 1,083 fish­er­men are miss­ing along with 83 mech­a­nised and five fi­bre-glass boats.

Mean­while, Mr. Palaniswami chaired a high-level re­view meet­ing at the Sec­re­tariat to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion and came out with a se­ries of mea­sures.

An of­fi­cial re­lease said in view of the in­abil­ity of fish­ing fam­i­lies in the dis­trict to con­tinue fish­ing ac­tiv­ity in De­cem­ber, each of them would be pro­vided a grant of ₹2,500 as liveli­hood sup­port.

A com­mit­tee led by the Com­mis­sioner of Rev­enue Ad­min­is­tra­tion would be con­sti­tuted to con­duct a de­tailed probe into the miss­ing fish­er­men.

“Based on the re­port, the so­latium would be granted af­ter con­sid­er­ing the miss­ing fish­er­men as dead,” the re­lease said. The fam­i­lies of miss­ing fish­er­men would also be granted an as­sis­tance of ₹5,000, con­sid­er­ing them as spe­cial cases. A com­pen­sa­tion of ₹5 lakh will be paid to fish­er­men who are un­able to con­tinue fish­ing af­ter the cy­clone.


Seething dis­con­tent: Fish­er­men block the tracks at Kuzhithu­rai rail­way sta­tion in Kan­niyaku­mari dis­trict and, right, vil­lagers, led by Catholic priests, stage a protest against the per­ceived lack of ef­forts to search and res­cue fish­er­men, who went miss­ing dur­ing Cy­clone Ockhi.

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