SHILLONG, APR 21: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma said that the state fisheries department will enter into a partnership with youngsters for marketing of fresh fishes from different fish ponds located in rural areas and thus encourage the spirit of “entrepreneurship” in the local youths.
Sangma also informed that the state government will fund the wherewithal like water tanks for bringing the fresh fishes into the market.
Inaugurating the new office building of the Directorate of fisheries opposite St. Edmunds College in Fire Brigade on Tuesday, Sangma told the gathering, “Entrepreneurship in our society does not happen immediately, but we must infuse that spirit in our youngsters.”
Stating that the Meghalaya State Aqua Mission (MSAM) is a very important mission of the Meghalaya government, Sangma informed that the state government has increased funding of the MSAM mission by 600 percent after it was launched.
Expressing happiness over the inauguration of the new Directorate of fisheries building,
Sangma gave a brief backgrounder on the evolvement of the fisheries department- which was a minor department some years ago when he was the state fisheries minister and said back then he thought lots could be done in this sector but was handicapped because of a very low budget allocation.
Congratulating the fisheries department officers for making the MSAM a “happening sector in fisheries”, Sangma said that he is happy because the department connects directly with the stakeholders (fish farmers) and reminded the officers that the department has miles to go before reaching its stated objectives.
Meghalaya chief secretary PBO Warjri, who spoke as a guest of honour, said that the building was a step towards development of the fishery sector, adding that since the launch of Aquaculture Mission under IBDLP, the fishery department has shown that it can perform.
Warjri informed that the Aquaculture mission has doubled the fish production to 8000 metric tons over the last three years from 4000 MT and urged the department to meet the challenge of not only meeting the state’s requirement of 33000 MT but produce surplus for exporting to other states.
Meghalaya fisheries department principal secretary KN Kumar reflected back on the 1000 ponds scheme started in the year 2005-2006 and concluded in 2011 and informed the gathering that it has seen some positive feedbacks, wherein the main initiative was the expansion of water areas and fishing ponds.
Kumar told the gathering that the fact finding team under the SIRD have come up with a concluding facts and its report said around 40% of the additional income that the farmers and beneficiaries have availed from the scheme were invested in their children’s education, construction of their houses and also investing in livestock.
Kumar informed that the 1000 pond scheme had impacted 695 fish farmers and said that the report found out that sixty-five percent of the farmers had fully paid their loan to the Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank –MCAB- taken for the scheme, 35 percent repaid their loan partly or are paying.
Kumar was of the opinion that the 1000 pond scheme taught the department valuable lessons which have been incorporated in the MSAM too.
Additional Chief Secretary, KS Kropha also spoke on the occasion while the Director of Fisheries, I R Sangma briefly highlighted on the background of the Department.- By Our Reporter