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December 16, 2017
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 Stalin seeks clarity on number of missing fishermen All scientific and technological means should be utilised’

DMK working president M.K. Stalin on Tuesday wrote to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and sought the use of “all scientific and technological means” to find out the exact number of fishermen missing after Cyclone Ockhi.

“I am confident that our Naval forces possess effective ways and means to find out the missing fishermen. As any further delay will aggravate the tearful sufferings the fishermen community is already undergoing, I look upon you to intervene immediately, keeping in view the humanitarian nature of the issue at hand,” Mr. Stalin said.

The DMK leader, however, joined issue with Ms. Sitharaman and said that he was shocked and surprised to listen to an interview where she had claimed that “the 1,000 fishermen missing story is totally wrong”.

He said that her statement was like “rubbing salt on the wounds” of the fishermen families who were still waiting to find out the fate of their bread-winners.

‘Scarce information’

“Even after six days of the devastating and destructive cyclone that dislocated the normal life of the people in Kanniyakumari district, it is disappointing that both the State and the Central governments are only speculating on the number of missing fishermen and no correct or reliable information is forthcoming despite the review meetings by the Chief Minister,” the DMK leader said.

Mr. Stalin also said that he was seeking Ms. Sitharaman’s assistance to declare the disaster as a ‘national calamity’ and provide necessary financial assistance to the State “to rebuild the disfigured and destroyed face of the Kanniyakumari district, which is historically significant”.

‘Contradictory claims’

The Leader of the Opposition also slammed the contradictory claims of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Fisheries Minister on the number of fishermen missing.

“The conflicting, misleading and contradicting statements and interviews of the Fisheries Minister, the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary on missing fishermen are ample testimony by themselves to the tragic failure of this government,” the DMK leader said.