Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac today faced the ire of fisherfolk when he visited coastal Admimalathura that was hit by Cyclone ‘Ockhi’. Issac, who had gone to explain to the fishermen community the rehabilitation and financial package announced by the LDF government, was confronted by people of the locality, who demanded a review of the package. They pointed out that the package was inadequate and raised slogans when the minister started speaking on compensation. Irate fisherwomen informed the minister that the free ration distributed the other day in the area was of poor quality. Isaac later told reporters that the demands of the fishermen would be considered. State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and two other ministers Kadakampally Surendran and J Mercykutty had also faced hostile fisherfolk at nearby Vizhinjam coast when they visited the area last Sunday.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan today flayed the protest against the chief minister and said it was a “political game” played by certain local Congress leaders in the state. “It has been described by a section of the media as a protest by fishermen in the area. But, actually it was a political game deliberately played by some Congressmen,” Balakrishnan said in an article in ‘Deshabhimani’, the party organ. There should not be any political discrimination at a time when the state is slowly overcoming the damage caused by the cyclone, he said, adding the CPI(M)-led LDF government took all possible steps for the rescue of victims.
The CPI(M) leader also said the Centre has the responsibility to declare the cyclone as a national disaster and take further relief measures in this regard. The state government had announced a relief amount of Rs 20 lakh each to the next of kin of fishermen, who lost their lives in the cyclone, he added. The cyclone that hit various parts of the state on November 29 and 30 has claimed as many as 37 lives, mostly fishermen.The state government today put the number of fishermen missing in the cyclone as 101.However, various fishermen outfits in the coastal belts of nearby Vizhinjam, Poonthura, Adimalathura, Pozhiyur and so on have claimed that the number of missing persons will be more than 300.