Letter to the Prime Minsiter (Ockhi cyclone package)

Dear Shri. Narendra Modiji,

The ‘OCKHI’ Cyclone that hit the Kerala coast on November 30th 2017, wreaked unprecedented havoc, impacting the lives and livelihoods of a large number of fishermen families. The Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, well co-ordinated by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs under your esteemed leadership did yeoman service in the search and rescue operations. I convey my sincere and whole hearted gratitude to the Government of India for the timely help.

The bodies of 71 fishermen have been recovered so far from the Kerala coast and the search is still on. The shock, both physical and psychological, in the aftermath of ‘OCKHI’ felt by the fishermen would take a long time to wear off. This calamity of such rare severity has to be treated as a national calamity.

The State Government did its best by responding swiftly to provide rescue, relief and rehabilitation, but the State Disaster Response Fund is not adequate to meet the entire need. We have already drawn up a memorandum as per the existing norms of NDRF for the loss now assessed as Rs. 422.16 crores. Considering the inadequacy of the norms of assistance under National Disaster Response Fund and the inherent preference in these norms towards immediate or short term relief, there is an urgent need for a special package from the Union Government for undertaking medium to long term risk reduction, putting in place a coping mechanism, reconstruction of the infrastructure and resettlement of the fishermen from the vulnerable areas to safe zones.

I request you to treat OCKHI as a national calamity of a rare severity and grant a Special Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Package to the tune of Rs. 7340.45 crores to enable us to take up medium to long term risk mitigation, vulnerability reduction, coastal infrastructure reconstruction and other reassuring steps to build the confidence level of the fishermen. It may be noted that Kerala had experienced a natural disaster, Tsunami which was of a some what similar scale in 2004, where in apart from the immediate rehabilitation assistance of Rs. 249.36 crore, a package for Rs. 1687.21 crores under TRP and TEAP was also granted by Government of India. The Memorandum prepared as per NDRF norms and the requests for the Special Package are submitted along with.

Your kind early intervention is solicited.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

(PINARAYI VIJAYAN)

Shri. Narendra Modi
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
152, South Block,
Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011.