Chennai

Enhanced assistance of ₹876 cr.sought for phase 1 of Ockhi relief

Trail of destruction: Members of the Central team inspecting sea erosion at Vallavilai, one of the villages affected by Cyclone Ockhi in Kanniyakumari district, on Thursday.

Trail of destruction: Members of the Central team inspecting sea erosion at Vallavilai, one of the villages affected by Cyclone Ockhi in Kanniyakumari district, on Thursday.  

Five-member committee to meet on January 3 to decide on the demand for declaring missing fishermen dead

The State Government has sought an increased assistance of ₹876 crore to carry out post-Ockhi restoration work across the State in the first phase, Commissioner for Revenue Administration K. Satyagopal has said.

When Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami submitted the memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit on December 19, the Chief Minister had sought ₹747 crore for first phase restoration work. After extensive inspection and review, the assistance being sought from the Centre in the first phase has increased.

Speaking to reporters at Kollencode in Western Kanniyakumari district before participating in the review meeting along with the Central team that visited Cyclone Ockhi-affected areas on Thursday, Mr. Satyagopal said the National Disaster Management Authority had released ₹133 crore for carrying out restoration work in the cyclone and rain-hit areas of Tamil Nadu including Kanniyakumari district in the first phase even as the State government’s demand for first phase assistance stood at ₹876 crore.

The number of missing fishermen involved in multi-day stay fishing in deep seas that stood at 329 when the Prime Minister visited the district had come down to 237 after some of the fishermen returned to the shores on the eve of Christmas, and this number might come down further before New Year, he said, while expressing concern over the fate of 35 fishermen, who had ventured into the sea in 13 country boats.

When asked about the possibly of declaring the missing fishermen as ‘dead’ before December 31 – a demand raised by the kin of missing fishermen so as to get the assistance at the earliest after losing their breadwinners – Mr. Satyagopal said a five-member committee being headed by him would meet on January 3 next year to discuss this issue.

“Based on the outcome of this meeting to be attended by the Secretaries of Revenue, Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and Fisheries Commissioner, the government will take an appropriate decision,” Mr. Satyagopal said.

Importance of insurance

On the question of regularising the violations in the length, breadth and engine horse power of the mechanised boats involved in deep-sea fishing, the Mr. Satyagopal said it was an area of concern with the insurance companies refusing to insure the vessels due to these violations.

“If the boats had been insured, it would have been of great help to the affected fishermen. Since most of the mechanised boats in distress have not been insured, the fishermen should understand this situation and our attitude towards insuring the vessels should change,” Mr. Satyagopal said.

Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Gagandeep Singh Bedi said crops such as rubber, paddy, plantain, clove and pepper planted on over 6,005 hectares had suffered extensive damage in the natural disaster in Kanniyakumari district while the extent of damage in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts stood at 1,600 hectares.

“The Central team, after we sought increased assistance to help the affected farmers, is visiting the affected areas today. We hope that the compensation for crop damage would get credited in the farmers’ accounts within 20 days,” Mr. Bedi said.

After Mr. Satyagopal and Mr. Bedi briefed the Central team – comprising Sanjeev Kumar Jindal of the Ministry of Home Affairs; P. Paul Pandian of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries; O.P. Suman of the Ministry of Power; Parameshwar Bali of the Ministry of Shipping; and K. Manoharan of the Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare – visited some of the affected areas.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:48:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/enhanced-assistance-of-876-crsought-for-phase-1-of-ockhi-relief/article22321325.ece

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