Madurai: The Madras high court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to provide adequate basic amenities to those affected by cyclone Ockhi in Kanyakumari district.

Justices M. Venugopal and Dharani of the Madurai bench gave the direction on a public interest litigation (PIL) by Wilso Tasbin, who alleged that relief and rehabilitation work by the government in the district was inadequate. The bench directed government officials to provide adequate medicines, electricity and water for the people and also all basic amenities in camps.

The judges posted the case for 8 December and asked the government to file a report on relief provided for cyclone victims and efforts to rescue fishermen. They directed the Indian navy and coast guard to expedite action to trace and rescue the fishermen who are reported to be missing since the cyclone struck the Tamil Nadu coast.

The judges, however, said that the government was not responsible for nature’s fury and could not be blamed for any lapse in precautionary measures. The petitioner submitted that the cyclone had uprooted 50,000 trees and 6,000 lamp posts and had cut off roads at different places. Besides food shortage, there was no water or power in several areas and traffic had been affected since 30 November, when the cyclone hit the coast.

He alleged that the police were not doing their duty and there were thefts in several areas. The district medical college did not have enough infrastructure and amenities to treat the affected, the petitioner alleged, and sought a direction to the government to restore water and power supply, ensure proper facilities at government medical colleges and also provide food to those affected.

The police should be directed to provide adequate security to the people, the petitioner said.