Kerala to shore up security on high seas, says Oommen Chandy

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The government on Wednesday decided to convene a high-level meeting to decide on safety measures for fishermen at sea in the light of the killing of two fishermen by Italian marines last week.

At the Cabinet briefing here, chief minister Oommen Chandy said he would convene a high-level meeting of Navy, Coast Guard, fisheries and police shortly to discuss the security measures.

The meeting would also be attended by organisations of fishermen.

Chandy said the state police had acted against the marines within the confines of the law and added that the state had received full support from the Centre. “The fishermen were killed without any provocation and the issue would be handled with the sincerity and the seriousness required in such matters.”

The chief minister refused to comment on the reports that cardinal Mar George Allanchery had intervened in the matter. “Since the Church officials have refuted the news, there is no point raking up a controversy,” he said.

The Cabinet also decided to give a job to the wife of Jelestine, who was killed in the incident. The job would be provided in the fisheries department.

On the palmolein issue, Mr Chandy criticised opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan for raking up the palm oil controversy.

“If Achuthanandan knew about corruption in Palm Oil deal long back, then why didn’t he initiate legal measures against me during his five-year tenure,” he asked.

About the violence in Kannur, the chief minister said the CPI(M) could not shy away from the responsibility for the ongoing violence in Kannur district. “As a big political party, the CPI(M) should cooperate with the law- enforcing agency to maintain peace,” he added.

He said a Rs 3,00,000 lakh compensation would be provided to the next of kin of those who died in the Erattupetta accident, Rs 25,000 for the grievously injured and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries.

The chief minister directed the PWD to install crash barriers and sign boards on the unprotected stretch.

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