‘1,969 fishermen traced; search on for 855’
The State government on Thursday revealed that 1,969 fishermen from Ockhihit Kanniyakumari district, who went missing, have been found to be safe in other States. “We are still continuing efforts to collect information about 855 fishermen and every day, we are matching the details with fishermen rescued in other States,” Information Technology Principal Secretary T. K. Ramachandran, who is on special duty as additional monitoring officer in the cyclone-hit district, told
A total of 2,641 fishermen from Kanniyakumari and other districts had gone for fishing in 282 boats. Mr. Ramachandran said since fishermen themselves from eight villages wanted to take part in the search operation, the government made arrangements
for seven of them to go with the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. “They have come back and thanked the government for the efforts,” he said.
Mr. Ramachandran, who visited fishermen villages and met parish priests, said the government had traced 249 boats and 1,969 fishermen from Kanniyakumari in other States.
“A team of senior officials has rushed to these States to ensure the safe return of fishermen and provide other amenities,” said Mr. Ramachandran in the presence of Director of Fisheries V. P. Dhandapani and Director of Employment and Training Jothi Nirmala.
Two fishermen had died and others have reached 15 places in Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, Gujarat and Kerala safely. The group also included fishermen from other districts. “We are in receipt of the names of fishermen who have reached shore. IAS officers have gone to these States to ascertain their villages in Kanniyakumari,” Mr Ramachandran said.
Though people in fishermen villages have come to the conclusion that the fishermen, who could not be traced are dead, officials said one could come to such a conclusion only after a year. “We are conducting an inquiry in every village and relief should be distributed depending on the inquiry report,” the officials said.
While the fishermen claimed that 13 persons had been killed by Ockhi, the officials said that after their visit to villages, they found that 135 of the 855 fishermen from eight villages, including Neerodi, Vallavilai, Chinnathurai, Poothurai and Marthandamthurai, were safe. “They have gone in 75 mechanised boats and 11 boats have been traced in other districts. A total of 130 fishermen were also found in the boats. The pursuit is still on for 725 fishermen,” an official said.
Explaining the reason for the delay in their return, officials said Ockhi had moved towards Gujarat and fishermen had been advised to remain in the State since the storm’s impact would be felt till December 8. “The respective State governments are keeping them safe,” an official added.
Senior officials have rushed to various States to ensure the return of the fishermen
T. K. Ramachandran Officer on Special Duty