The Chief Minister announced that fishermen would receive Rs 3,000 per day, a new boat and fuel. He also said that damages would be compensated fairly.

news Kerala Floods Sunday, August 19, 2018 - 20:16

“I took three boats and all the diesel we had and just came off to Alappuzha,” says Saji, a fisherman who travelled all the way from Thiruvananthapuram to take part in the mammoth efforts to rescue people stuck during the floods.

In another video, truck after truck can be seen for as far as the eye can see, with all of them having one thing in common — a fishing boat, in various colours, jutting out the back. Kerala’s superheroes without capes travelled and transported their boats and fuel over long distances with their own money just to rescue the lakhs stranded across the state. They’ve been a constant sight no matter where in the state one travelled — whether it be Ernakulam, Thrissur or Pathanamthitta district. Many of these fishermen travelled from Thiruvananthapuram to various parts of the state. Sometimes, the people driving lorries also gave them a free ride. 

Why the fishermen are crucial to the number of people rescued in the state is this  — the waters in Kerala have strong currents, one that a normal boat would not be able to traverse. Fishing boats were deployed in all of these areas, and since fishermen spend their lives at sea, they were able to navigate smaller pockets that other rescue personnel were struggling with.

While social media has been abuzz with people asking the government to give fishermen in Kerala their due, one video caught everyone’s attention. One where a fisherman offered his own back so three women could climb on to the boat.

"NDRF personnel who were leading the rescue operations in Vengara region informed us they won’t be able to reach to the place where these women were stranded. We asked them to give their boats for a while, and we rescued them,” Jaisal KP, a fisherman from Tanur, told News18.

While addressing the press on Sunday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan acknowledged the contribution of these unsung heroes.

“Fishermen have played a major role in our rescue operations. We have decided to give Rs 3000 per day, a new boat and fuel to them. Damages will be compensated fairly,” the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister also said that arrangements will be made to transport the boats back to where they were brought from.

“The government requests the authorities to give a grand welcome to fishermen who have helped us a lot when they reach their hometowns,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

“I appreciate each and everyone who has contributed in any way to the rescue and relief operations,” he added.

The role of fishermen was also acknowledged by the Alappuzha District Collectorate as well.

“Fishermen rescued many people with their boats. They were able to rescue 16,000 people in the region using their boats. Their role in this rescue mission was immense," a statement said.