Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday announced that the government of Kerala will appoint 200 fishermen to the post of coastal warden of the police department, as promised. The promise was made by the government after cyclone Ockhi wreaked havoc in the coastal areas in November 2017.
“It was promised in the aftermath of Ockhi that persons from fisherfolk families will be appointed as coastal wardens. Keeping that promise, today’s cabinet has decided to make 200 coastal warden appointments in the police department on a temporary basis,” said CM Pinarayi Vijayan in a statement on Facebook.
Cyclone Ockhi hit the shores of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in November 2017 and led to the death of close to 100 fishermen.
This decision by the government to appoint the fisherfolk to the post of coastal warden was announced just two days after the state government felicitated the fishermen of the state who played a stellar role in the rescue operations during the recent floods.
Talking at the felicitation ceremony in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, CM Pinarayi Vijayan said, “They did not know of this gift. They did not know if the boats they took out would come back fine. They went out into the floods without thinking of anything, without thinking of money or their own lives or their families, to save the thousands trapped. Giving you a big salute from Kerala.”
According to official figures, as many as 669 boats went out with 4,537 fishermen, and it is estimated they would have saved at least 65,000 lives.
In his speech, the chief minister spoke about how the water kept rising even after all the forces came. “The rescue operations were not reaching everywhere and that’s when they thought of the men who knew water so well, who went out into the waters for their livelihood on a daily basis. “We had trust in their strength and their survival skills. Fishermen were brought from different parts of the state, with the help of the police. They were courageous and dynamic. They became the most important aspect of the rescue mission,” the CM said.