Modi visits Kerala, Tamil Nadu for post-Ockhi assessment

Tamil Nadu government has sought a Rs40b package to deal with the losses caused by the Ockhi cyclone

Image Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with the school kids in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep.

Thiruvananthapuram: Fresh from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victories in the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reached Kerala and Tamil Nadu for a first-hand assessment of the impact of the Ockhi cyclone.

The cyclone had devastated coastal areas of both states, taking more than a hundred lives in the two states.

Dozens of fishermen went missing when the cyclone hit in the last week of November in the two states.

The prime minister visited Lakshadweep, which was another location where lives were lost and widespread losses caused by the cyclonic winds, before arriving in Kerala, and then going over to Kanyakumari.

The Tamil Nadu government has sought a Rs40-billion package to deal with the losses caused by the Ockhi cyclone. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy gave the prime minister a memorandum in this connection.

The Kerala government also prepared a detailed presentation of the destruction caused by the cyclone, to present to the prime minister.

Ahead of the prime minister’s visit, a political row was stirred when Kerala Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan was dropped from the official team to interact with the prime minister at Poonthura, a coastal village near Thiruvananthapuram which bore the brunt of the Ockhi fury.

However, the revenue minister was invited to the interaction that the prime minister was scheduled to have with the chief minister and his cabinet members.

The Latin Catholic Church in Kerala had expressed displeasure at the manner in which the state government handled the Ockhi emergency, and held protest marches and sit-ins to draw the government’s attention to the plight of fisherfolk who have lost their family members, homes and fishing boats in the cyclone.

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