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HomeNationCyclone Ockhi cannot be declared national calamity: Centre

Cyclone Ockhi cannot be declared national calamity: Centre

Alphons Kannanthanam, Cyclone Ockhi, PTI, Tamil Nadu,
Chennai: A fisherman watches a high rising wave from Marina beach in Chennai on Thursday. The coastal districts in the state have been put on high alert in view of Cyclone Thane which is currently near the coast of Chennai and is likely to cross the coast on December 30. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar(PTI12_29_2011_000076B)

The Centre on Sunday said Cyclone Ockhi, which wreaked havoc in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep, cannot be declared a national calamity, as there is no such scheme, but assured all necessary assistance to tackle the situation.

Speaking to reporters after attending a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Secretariat here, Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam said the Centre has already given necessary relief funds to the state government.

“We have received a memorandum from the state government requesting to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national calamity. But, there is no such scheme for the Centre to do the same,” he said.

Though the Union Tourism Minister earlier backed the Kerala government’s contention that they had not received any prior warning about the cyclone, he later clarified that the central agencies had given necessary alerts on November 28 and 29 itself.

Kannanthanam, in the presence of Vijayan, earlier had stated that the state had received the cyclone alert only on November 30 and a clear prior warning had not been issued before that.

The Union Minister later visited nearby Punthura, a coastal hamlet where fishermen are protesting alleging delay in rescue of their kin, who had ventured into sea days ago.

He also said that 90 fishermen from the state were yet to be brought back to the shores.

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