Rahul visits cyclone-hit, seeks Fisheries Ministry

Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi on Thursday visited fisherfolk in Kerala's two coastal villages and one in Tamil Nadu affected by cyclone Ockhi and demanded a separate Ministry for fisheries.

"Today, farmers have a separate Ministry (at the Centre) but there is no such Ministry to deal with the fisheries sector. I would like to see a new Ministry set up to look into the needs of the fishery sector," Gandhi said.

Everyone "should learn from their mistakes", he added.

Gandhi arrived here on Thursday on a day-long visit to the coastal fishing villages in Kerala and Tamil Nadu which were affected by the cyclone on November 30.

A huge turnout of local fisherfolk at Poonthura and Vizhinjam heard the Congress leader patiently. These two villages accounted for the maximum deaths among fishermen -- over 30 -- in the cyclone. More than 70 are still missing.

"I should have come here before... Even though I was not physically present when the tragedy struck, I was here in spirit," Gandhi told the villagers.

The Congress leader interacted with fishermen at both places and paid tribute to the dead.

From the airport here, he drove to Poonthura and then Vizhinjam. Later, he took a helicopter ride from the airport to a fishing village in Kanyakumari district in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

-IANS