SHILLONG, MAR 30: Inaugurating the two fish ponds in Mawtap village in Sohiong as part of the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma described the occasion as “historic moment” for the state and said it is also the demonstration of the commitment of the government to economically empower the people and give the GDP and economy a boost.
The two ponds belong to fish farmers Shahjahan and Rikynti Thabah and they were also presented with mementos and cheques of their second installment of the MSAB by Sangma.
With the inauguration of the two fish ponds on Saturday Meghalaya is now ready to produce fish production over 2,300 metric tons by April next year. Meghalaya GAD minister HDR Lyngdoh, who is also the local MLA of Sohiong, chief secretary, WMS Pariat, principal secretary of Fisheries department KN Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district Sanjay Goyal and director of Fisheries Mrs IR Sangma were also present in the inauguration function.
In his inaugural address, Sangma said that he was happy to inaugurate the two fish ponds which are expected to produce four to five quintal of fishes. He informed that the MSAM targets to increase the per capita income of eighty percent rural population in the state.
The MSAM is one of the nine flagship programmes of the Meghalaya government under IBDLP launched in March last year. Sangma said, “Along with these missions we will also have other measures to ensure multi-flare effects.”
Under the MSAB, the Meghalaya government proposes to create one lakh fish ponds in the next five years and targets to produce more than 20,000 metric tons of fishes in the state. The mission also aims to increase fish production and reduce import burden besides promoting livelihood security to the people of the state.
Promising to ensure adequate fund flow to implement the mission, Sangma informed, “We have allocated a total amount of Rs 50 crores fund this year for this mission and I wish to see farmers take interest in this mission and bring out their success stories.”
More than 800 farmers have registered as partners of the MSAB and Sangma also informed the fish farmer that there are other support systems in place for the partners to produce fish seeds. He said, “They can earn up to Rs 20 lakhs in a year if they can produce one million fish seeds.”
Sangma exude confidence that there are lots of opportunities for the fish farmers and said the government will explore how best it utilize these opportunities for the benefits of the people.
GAD minister HDR Lyngdoh congratulated the fish farmers and said that Sohiong has shown the way in fish production and other areas of the state will soon follow.
At present Meghalaya requires up to 15,000 metric ton of fish annually. However due to huge shortage of fish production the fish for local consumption are imported from outside the state including Andhra Pradesh.
In his keynote address, Meghalaya fisheries department principal secretary KN Kumar on the other hand said that Meghalaya is expected to start its fish production of over 2300 metric tons soon and this is expected to reduce the demand and supply gap to a great extent.
Kumar told the gathering that a total amount of 64 crore rupees have been sanctioned for 11, 473 ponds which are already under the process of construction and are expected to be completed within 6 months.
Kumar said with the launch of MSAB, the fish production in Meghalaya will increase many folds and the local consumers will also have access to quality fresh fishes at reasonable rate. He also informed that by the launch of the MSAB Meghalaya can also save up to Rs 250 crores per year , which otherwise flows out of the state and also help in employment generation. – By Evanjopline Dkhar