The Kerala government has initiated all possible steps to rescue fishermen stranded in rough sea off the state coast due to cyclone 'Ockhi', Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said.
Talking to reporters here after a meeting that reviewed the situation, he said though the exact number of stranded fishermen was yet to be known, the government initiative was to bring all of them to the shore without any delay.
Vijayan said 70 fishermen in sea had already got in touch with rescue teams. But, the teams could not reach them due to inclement weather, he said.
Official sources said around 50 fishermen had already been rescued by the joint team of the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard.
According to a rough estimate, nearly 200 fishermen here had gone out for fishing last day and yet to return.
Vijayan said the state has requested the Defence Ministry to deploy more aircraft for rescue operations in view of the cyclone moving towards Lakshadweep.
The existing aircraft were not enough to tackle the problems in coastal Kerala and the archipelago.
He said rescue operations were also getting delayed as some of the fishermen in sea were not ready to return to shore by leaving their boats there.
"It is causing some problem. But, it shows that they are safe and efforts to supply food and water to them were on", he said.
Vijayan also cautioned fishermen not to venture into sea for rescuing fellow fishers as the sea was very rough.
The state government received the cyclone warning yesterday afternoon and started its relief and rescue measures immediately, he said.
Quoting weather forecast, Vijayan said the present situation was likely to continue till tomorrow.
However, he said at present the cyclone was moving 200 km away from the state's shore.
It was located 70 kms from the state coast yesterday that triggered heavy rain and wind, he said.
The state had also sought the help of Merchant Navy and two of their ships also rescued 10 fishermen from the sea.
Meanwhile, local people in the coastal hamlets of Poonthura and nearby areas of state capital blocked roads demanding urgent steps to rescue those stranded in the sea.