Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy has demanded that the State Government pay an ex gratia of Rs.10 lakh each to the families of the four fishermen who were killed in a road accident at Punnapra on Friday last.

Talking to reporters after visiting the homes of the fishermen at Mararikulam here on Monday, Mr. Chandy said the government, instead of waiting for the next Cabinet meeting, should treat such cases as emergency issues and immediately release the money.

There were around 18 fishermen, who were injured in the same accident, and were undergoing treatment at present. The government should compassionately consider their cases as well and arrange for their loans to be waived. In case any of them were without their own homes, the government should arrange for houses for them under the tsunami rehabilitation programme, Mr. Chandy said.

Pointing out that the accident had occurred because the fishermen were unable to set sail from their usual points on the Mararikulam coast, Mr. Chandy also demanded that work on the Arthunkal and Chethi fishing harbours should be completed at the earliest so that the fishermen would not have to travel for long distances in search of safe harbours to go out to the sea.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, A.A. Shukoor, who was recently elected to the State Assembly from Alappuzha, and other Congress leaders accompanied Mr. Chandy.

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