Residents block a road during a protest demanding the government to reconstruct damaged sea walls and provide rehabilitation for those staying near the seashore after flooding caused by Cyclone Ockhi.

Chennai, Jan 9 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday witnessed heated debate on the rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures taken by the state government in the cyclone ‘Ockhi’ affected districts of the State.

After Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin (DMK) initiated the debate on a special call attention motion on the issue during Zero Hour, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami reeled out the cyclone relief measures taken by the government and said the search and rescue works were being carried out by the Centre.

Mr Stalin sought to know measures taken by the government to trace the fishermen who went missing during the cyclone and also asked details of amount sought as relief from the Centre.

In his detailed reply, Mr Palaniswami said that the fishermen were warned on November 29 even before the cyclone and were advised not to venture into sea.

‘All District Collectors and fishermen were informed about the cyclone. Fishermen who were within 100 nautical miles returned home. However, information did not reach those who ventured into deep sea,’ he added.

He said all necessary steps were taken to bring back fishermen who lost their way and landed in other States.

Stating that all steps were taken to ensure that normalcy was restored at the earliest in the worst hit Kanniyakumari district, Mr Palaniswami said so far 3,522 fishermen returned home safely and the government helped in rescue of 1,124 fishermen and Rs 133 crore has been allotted by the Centre as relief in the first phase.

Detailing the steps taken by the government, including the quantum of compensation given to the deceased families and cattle, besides damages caused to banana, rubber and clove plantations, he said 11 IAS officials were involved in rescue operation and Rs 20 lakh was given as solatium to the families of 14 fishermen who lost their lives during the cyclone.

One member per family was given a government job and a solatium of Rs 10 lakh has been given to those from the non-fishermen community who died during the cyclone.

On the damages caused to the horticultural crops, he said the assessment of damages caused to the crops were completed and a total of 6004 hectares were found damaged.

In Kanniyakumari horticultural crops to extent of 5,468 acres, agricultural crops to the extent of 537 acres were damaged, the Chief Minister sasid.