January 9, 2018
Chennai: It was cyclone Ockhi that dominated discussions on the second day of the year’s first Assembly session today. There was heated debate on the transport union strike.
DMK working president and Opposition Leader MK Stalin raised the issues and sought to know the measures taken by the government to find fishermen missing during the cyclone. He also wanted details of amount sought as Central relief.
In his reply, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said fishermen had been warned much before the cyclone and were told not to venture into sea.
‘All District Collectors and fishermen were informed on November 29 about the cyclone. Fishermen who were within 100 nautical miles returned home. But information did not reach those who had ventured into deep sea,’ he added.
All necessary measures to bring back fishermen who lost their way and landed in other States were also taken.
‘Those who were washed ashore in other States were brought home with the help of five IAS officials and were provided with food and diesel,’ he added. So far, 3,522 fishermen returned home safe and the government helped in rescuing 1,124 fishermen. An amount of Rs 133 crore was allotted for rehabilitation in the first phase.
In all, 11 IAS officials were directly involved in rescue operations and Rs 20 lakh was given as relief to families of 14 fishermen who lost their lives.One member of each family was given a government job. A solatium of Rs 10 lakh was given to those from non-fishermen community who died during the cyclone.
‘The government also requested the Centre to provide wireless communication device to fishermen. We have requested for a separate satellite to inform fishermen about weather in Tamil Nadu,’ he said.Farm lands in Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli that were affected by the cyclone were surveyed and compensation would be given at earliest, he said.
The government would continue relief operations till the last fishermen was rescued, he added.
The Central Government had been requested to declare Ockhi as a national disaster.
About the transport union strike, Palaniswami and Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar asked the striking workers to return to work in view of the hardship people were facing.
‘The government is proposing a huge hike which the workers are not able to understand,’ he added.
Vijayabaskar said Stalin should hold a meeting with the unions supported by the DMK and ask them to get back to work.
Stalin responded saying he was willing to talk on condition that the Chief Minister led the talks.