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       Will continue search till last fisherman is found, says govt
 
         Posted on :09:30:12 Dec 4, 2017
   
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         Tags: continue, search, fisherman, found
 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A high-level meeting, attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, officials of the State government, Navy, Coast Guard and the Air Force on Sunday, decided to continue the search for the missing fishermen till the last person is found.

The meeting held a review of the rescue operations carried out jointly by the State Government, the Air Force, Navy and the Coast Guard. Alphons said the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard will coordinate the continuing rescue operations by deploying more ships, aircraft and helicopters.

The Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary K M Abraham said that the State had received the cyclone warning only at 12 noon on November 30, but all necessary action had been taken. Vijayan emphasised the fact that 400 persons had been rescued in a single day, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Navy, Air force and the Coast Guard.

“This was one of the most important rescue effort on high seas,” he said.

The meeting also decided to include fishermen in the ongoing search and rescue operations for missing persons.

The decision came in the backdrop of strong protests by fish workers in several parts of the State, more as a mollification for overflowing emotions.

Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma, Cooperation and Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, government officials, Coast Guard Chief Commander N Tiwari, Southern Naval Command’s Captain Sudheep Malik and Chief Secretary, the Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) and other officials attended the meeting.

Later, speaking to media persons in the presence of the Chief Minister, Alphons corroborated the State government’s stand that the cyclone warning was received only on November 30 at 12 noon.

Many of the missing persons had set out a few days prior to the emergence of the depression in the Arabian Sea, he said.

Alphons, however, virtually retracted his statement soon after State BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan rebutted the Minister’s position.

Alphons was saved from a controversy as the media attention soon turned to the announcement that Union Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman would arrive in the State, which she did later in the evening, for a visit to the affected areas in Kaniyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Thiruvananthapuram.

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