After causing havoc in and around the Lakshadweep islands on Sunday, severe cyclonic storm Ockhi has set its course north and is expected to make landfall in Maharashtra and south Gujarat in the next 24 hours.
"I have spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) to see that these fishermen are given the space to remain there till the sea is safe for them to return", said Sitharaman.
Chennai: The Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Indian Air Force (IAF) have rescued 357 fishermen including 71 from Tamil Nadu who were stranded due to cyclone Ockhi and 20 of their ships, 8 aircrafts and 5 helicopters are patrolling the Lakshadweep sea to search and rescue fishermen.
In addition, 2,384 fishermen and their 205 boats were rescued out of the 2,570 fishermen who had sailed in 284 boats from other places in the state, the statement said.
Yesterday, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the reports of thousands of fishermen stranded in the cyclone were false and the number of missing Tamil Nadu fishermen was 97.
A precautionary holiday has been declared in schools in Mumbai and adjoining districts on Tuesday due to "serious weather predictions" in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi, said Maharashtra minister Vinod Tawde.
The government agencies at the centre and the affected States are regularly monitoring the cyclonic storm and are conducting necessary relief and rescue operations.
Speaking to a television channel, a fisherman in Kanyakumari who came back to the shore said: "Only God saved my life".
The cyclone has ravaged a large part of coastal areas there.
According to the fishing community in Kanyakumari, over 1,000 fishermen went into the sea before Ockhi struck the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In a series of meetings, the NCMC took stock of the situation in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep, an official said today. The navy, air force and coast guard personnel continued their search and rescue operations for missing fishermen for the second day on Saturday.