SHILLONG, OCT 22: Riding on the success of the first Aquafest held last year, fish farmers from across the state on Wednesday came flocking to be part of the 2nd State Aquafest 2014 organized by the Meghalaya fisheries department at the state central library premises.
The fish farmers showcased and market their products. The day was also graced by the participation of other line departments like Animal Husbandry & Veterinary, Agriculture, Horticulture, Soil & Water Conservation, Meghalaya Khadi & Village Industries Board, Registrar of Cooperative Societies and RRTC Umran.
Present at the inaugural function were Meghalaya minister for Health & Family Welfare AL Hek as the chief guest, Meghalaya chief secretary PBO Warjri as the guest of honour, Fisheries department principal secretary KN Kumar, planning department principal secretary and Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) CEO RM Mishra, East Khasi hills deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal, additional deputy commissioner CVD Diengdoh and senior officials of line departments.
Encouraged by the success of the first fish festivals organized in Shillong and Tura, minister A L Hek said that this is an opportunity for the youth of the state to opt for self employment rather than relying on white collared jobs. He said that State Aqua Mission is a blessing for the people of the state where economic development has come right at their doorstep.
Addressing the gathering as the chief guest, Hek said that a lot need to be done for creating awareness amongst the masses on the benefit of this mission. He called upon the people to take the opportunity of the government schemes for economic and sustained livelihood.
Meghalaya chief secretary PBO Warjri felt that there is a need to popularize fishery as one of the socio economic development activity in the state adding that it gives a sense of confidence to see a huge number of fish ponds coming up in different areas of the state especially in the rural areas.
This, Warjri said, shows that there is an understanding that we can earn a livelihood and provide food security to the state. He also said that the state has the potential to rear varieties of fish, especially ornamental fishes which can fetch a huge amount of income. Therefore, he called upon the people to take the opportunity to generate income from what Mother Nature has provided us.
In his opening remarks earlier principal secretary KN Kumar said that the Aqua Mission is one of the nine missions of the Meghalaya Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion Programme for the citizens particularly the rural masses by enhancing their employability and income earning livelihood.
Kumar said that the Aquafest held last year drew thousands of consumers from the city and its outskirts with a market of over 5 MT of local fishes.
Since its launching March 5, 2012, Kumar informed that till date 5681 fish ponds have entered production cycle while around 20,000 ponds is still in varied stages and will come into production cycle by 2015.
Kumar also informed that under this Mission, 12 Eco Hatchery have been set up and 7 of these have come into the production cycle and we have seen an improvement in production of fingerlings in the State. As the state march towards self-sufficiency, he appealed to the local populace to encourage and promote these fish farmers by buying local fishes which are healthy and nutritious.
Others who spoke on the occasion were RM Mishra, Managing Director, MCAB, D F War and Director of Fisheries, IR Sangma delivered the welcome address.
Hek also distributed cash awards of Rs. 10,000/- and mementoes to the best fish farmers from each district which included S Kurkalang from Mylliem Block, East Khasi Hills District, Mrs. R Laru from Umsning Block, Ri Bhoi District, W Marbaniang from Mairang Block, West Khasi Hills District, Mrs. BK Nongtnger from Ranikor Block, South West Khasi Hills District, Sengborlang Women Self Help Group from West Jaintia Hills District, R Pohtam from East Jaintia Hills District, N Ch Marak from Betasing Block, South West Garo Hills, S R Marak from Gambegre Block, West Garo Hills, P Sangma from North Garo Hills and R R Marak from East Garo Hills.
Winners of drawing and painting competitions for school students on the theme ‘Fish for Life’ were also felicitated during the inaugural programme.- By Our Reporter