KANNIYAKUMARI: Many would have forgotten the disasters and pains caused by Cyclone Phyon back in 2009, but not the families hit by the cyclone. Members of eight fishermen family who were engulfed by the cyclone are knocking the doors of officials for more than 12 years. The fishermen families who had lost their breadwinners had not received their due share of compensation from both the DMK and AIADMK governments.
“We were four children in our family.. After we lost my younger brother my entire family has been pushed into deep debts as my elder brother obtained loans to marry me off and my younger sister. Only if the government pays the promised compensation and provides a government job we will be able to rise from our debts,” said G Asha, elder sister of one of the eight fishermen Jimmy Kuttan from Thoothur fishermen village in Kanniyakumari district.
Jimmy Kuttan was one of the seven fishermen fishing in a boat in the Arabian sea offMaharashtra when the cyclone struck the western coast and one more fisherman drowned in another boat in November, 2009. Immediately, after the fishermen went missing the families were given Rs 1 lakh each from insurance and from the welfare board.
“The amount given was Rs 1 lakh, but we would have spent more than Rs 2 lakh in the last 12 years as we used to hire vehicles to meet various Ministers and political leaders for relief,” said Asha. The families demand compensation on par with the compensation provided to fishermen hit by Cyclone Ockhi. “Families who lost fishermen in Cyclone Ockhi were given Rs 20 lakh and a government job. We also need the same compensation,” said G Seeliya, sister of Maria Rajan, another fisherman who died in the cyclone.
Another problem faced by the families is that they could not get the death certificate of the fishermen even after 12 years as the incident occurred off Maharashtra coast and the Maharashtra police have filed a case. The families tried their best to get a death certificate from Maharashtra police, but could not get it. The families have resorted to legal battle to obtain death certificates.
P Justin Antony, founder president, International Fishermen Development Trust said that all those eight families have lost breadwinners and are struggling. Considering their plight the state should provide the relief demanded by the families.
As Cyclone Phyon hit during the previous DMK rule, the demands of the fishermen were not heard during the AIADMK rule and now once again the demands were taken up by fishermen families and Justin Antony who had recently met VCK MP Thol Thirumavalavan had urged him to take this issue up.
When officials in the Fisheries Department were asked, they said that if fresh petitions are submitted to the state action might be taken.
The families demand compensation on par with the compensation provided to fishermen affected by Cyclone Ockhi