From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, July 22: In order to boost up fish production to meet its ever growing demand and to create employment opportunities for the unemployed youths both in the urban and rural areas of Cachar, the department of fisheries in Cachar, has adopted multi-pronged strategy. Gopal Chandra Bhowmik, district fishery officer, said here that keeping in view the prospect and potentiality of the profitable business in fish, a part of the delicious dishes of the time, his department has laid thrust on encouraging pisciculture. Elaborating, he pointed out a fish breeding and rearing centre for fresh water giant prawn is coming up at Islamabad in Dholai. Hatchery of prawn breeding has been completed.
Within the current year, production of prawn- breeds will begin and ready for distribution among the fishermen. “It heralds a new chapter in fish breeding, rearing and transplantation in Cachar,” said Bhowmik. He revealed Dr A K Reddy, specialist in fresh water giant prawn breeding and rearing attached to Central Institute of Fishery Education (Deemed University) Mumbai and another expert in the state, Narayan Saikia, visited the centre and expressed their satisfaction at the progress of work.
Further, to meet the growing demand for fish-food, Bhowmik said a high quality fish-food production centre has been planned at Ramnagar near here. Fishermen or those engaged in fish-farming need not have to depend upon its import from Dibrugarh or Kolkata. This is not only expensive but also time-consuming. Availability of fish food at door step will be cost effective and leave enough margin of profit, he added to say.
It is also equally important that there should not be stress on marketing for the fish-produced. An ambitious scheme is on card for an hygienic fish market at Phatak Bazar, New Market. This has been taken up with the 90 per cent funding by National Fishery Development Board, Hyderabad, and 10 per cent contribution from the Silchar Municipal Board. Fish markets in every block in the district will be taken up for improvement and development, Bhowmik pointed out. The project at Fatak Bazar New Market involves an estimated cost of Rs 2.5 crore which will have 50 stalls with round the clock running water and a scientific drainage system to flush out polluted remains. According to him, it will take 10 months to complete.
There is also the plan to go for ornamental fish breeding and rearing as well as aquarium fish culture, considering their growing demand, Gopal Chandra Bhowmik said. The marketing of both kinds of fishes is also on the agenda. Assam University has shown interest in the breeding and rearing of ornamental fish and he expected it to be a reality on the ground. A hatchery has been approved at Vivekananda Road of the town while a mini hatchery is coming up in Sonai and one each in other blocks, he disclosed.
The district fishery officer said four beels have been taken over for pisciculture. Asked about the possibility of fish-farming in the largest natural water lake of Barak Valley, known as Sonbeel, in Karimganj with immense potentiality, Bhowmik said the State Government has not taken up any decision in this respect. Nor is there any plan for such scheme in yet another lake Chatla beel, the second largest after Sonbeel.
Continuing, Bhowmik said his department has also been careful about the welfare of fishermen and their families. 11 houses have been constructed for them at Choto Dudhpatil under National Welfare Scheme. Quite significantly, as he said prisoners of central jail here recently have been imparted training in fish breeding and rearing as well as for their sale and marketing. This will help them to become self-sufficient economically. This kind of profitable business can be taken up by them once they are freed from the jail. A good number of them were taken to the ponds around the town for practical demonstration. This very effort of the fishery department has come in for high appreciation from the civil society.