Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kerala and Tamil Nadu, recently buffeted by cyclone Ockhi, for a review of relief and rehabilitation measures on Tuesday. However, he will not be visiting the affected fishing hamlets in the two states.
Cyclone Ockhi hit Indian coast on 30 November, claiming at least 77 lives in both states. Officially, about 100 people from Kerala and some 400 people from Tamil Nadu, who had all gone to fishing in the deep sea hours ahead of the cyclone, are yet to be traced.
The prime minister is expected to arrive at Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday morning and proceed to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. He is expected to meet political leaders, officials and some representatives of the fishing communities. The Kerala government will also make a presentation before the prime minister, reiterating its demand for Rs1,843 crore rehabilitation package from the central government.
However, citing security reasons, the visit was cut short from almost a one-day long trip as announced earlier to a couple of hours-long visit to the states. According to a revised plan released to the media by his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Modi is likely to spend only about an hour in Kerala.
The Latin Catholic Church, which commands significant influence over Kerala’s southern fishing hamlets, has voiced protests against the shortening of the trip and Modi’s decision to not visit the fishing hamlets. Earlier, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had personally visited the affected areas, albeit four days after the cyclone hit on 30 November, and had to leave quickly following protests. the next day, BJP leaders and union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan had also visited the affected areas. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited the affected villages on Thursday, and later wrote a letter to the PM, requesting a financial package for the victims.