Excerpts from the Call issued by the Kanyakumari District Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, December 2017
Dear workers, peasants and toiling people,
Kanyakumari (KK) and other neighbouring districts of Tamilnadu were devastated by the Ockhi cyclone and accompanying heavy rains for 3-4 days, starting from 29th November. The Administration neither pre-warned the people about the impending storm nor did it take any steps to safeguard the people from its ferocity. By the government’s own admission, over 1000 people are still missing and over 100 have died in the sea.
Kanyakumari is a coastal district in Tamilnadu. From Arokiyapurm to Neerodi there are hundreds of coastal villages. Here, over 50,000 fishermen make their living using Kattumaran, small boats, fiber boats and larger boats.
Besides the loss of lives, the fishermen and peasants of KK have suffered massive damage to their properties.
Even after the storm, the government machinery did not act with urgency to find the lost fishermen and provide relief to the peasants and people of KK who were facing flooding from the incessant rain. Essential services were disrupted. People did not get even drinking water, milk and other basic essentials. Although government keeps claiming to have a disaster management team, no support was provided to the suffering people of KK. In fact, the government and entire state machinery has refused to declare it as a disaster zone and initiate disaster support for the affected people. Ministers and top officials of Tamilnadu were focusing on the RK Nagar by-elections and did not bother to visit the people of KK or organise any relief measures to support the people. The visits of central and state ministers to the storm devastated areas were an eyewash and did not bring any relief to the people.
Thousands of fishermen and people of KK gathered at Kulithurai, Kollangcode and in various other places in KK as well as in Chennai and all over TN and held massive protest demonstrations over the apathy and inaction of the administration in tracing the missing fishermen.
Fishermen’s organizations, rubber and cashew nut plantation workers’ unions, construction workers’ unions and all other trade unions and organizations are fighting with the state administration demanding immediate and adequate relief measures.
The demands of the people are that the government:
Must provide immediate relief of Rs.25 lakhs to each family of those fishermen who have died in the sea;
Should restore power on a war footing;
Must award adequate compensation to the impacted peasants whose rubber, banana, paddy, coconut and tapioca crops have been destroyed;
Waive all loans by central and state governments to the peasants;
Should issue free ration and other essential items though the public distribution shops;
Build new houses for all those who have lost their homes;
Should take urgent steps to prevent an outbreak of jaundice, dengue and other such epidemics in the impacted areas;
Must carry out its basic duty of protecting and maintaining the water ways and storage;
Should make necessary changes in the Disaster Management protocols and implement the same in the future.
CGPI calls on the people of KK to denounce the callous attitude of the authorities and come forward to unitedly fight for their relief and rehabilitation which the government is duty-bound to provide.