Shillong, April 21: Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma today said that the fishery sector, which is directly linked to the people, has lots of potential.
He said that earlier there was very little budget allocation for the sector.
“It was only from the time the Aquaculture Mission was launched that our budget allocation increased by six percent and the investment in the sector increased manifold,” Dr Sangma said.
Dr Sangma was speaking as the chief guest at the iuguration of new office building of the Directorate of Fisheries at Dhankheti.
According to the Chief Minister, although the 1000 Ponds Scheme generated a lot of interest among the people, but it was not enough to meet the demands.
“As such there was a need to come up with a mission mode scheme to respond to the demands and meet the requirements of the people of the State,” he added.
The Chief Minister also informed that an important component this year would be to generate entrepreneurship in the sector and asked the department to identify farmers who would be willing to market the fish produced in the villages.
Dr Sangma, however, said that the biggest challenge is infusing the spirit of entrepreneurship among the indigenous communities.
The Chief Minister also informed that the government has decided to construct integrated offices and residential complexes in all the district headquarters in order to minimise the inconvenience of the rural people and also to ensure a secured environment to the officers.
Earlier, Dr Sangma, released the “Evaluation Report of the 1000 Ponds Scheme” to mark the occasion.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjri, who also spoke on the occasion, said that the new 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 said that the Aquaculture Mission has doubled the fish production to 8000 metric tons over the last three years from 400 MT and urged the department to meet the challenge of not only meeting the State’s requirement of 33000 MT but exporting surplus to other states.
Principal Secretary, Fisheries, KN Kumar informed that the 1000 Ponds Scheme which started in the year 2005-2006 and concluded in the year 2011 has seen some positive feedbacks, wherein the main initiative was the expansion of water areas and fishing ponds.
The fact finding team under the SIRD have come up with a concluding facts whereby according to the report around 40 percent of the additiol income that the farmers and beneficiaries have availed from the scheme were invested in their children’s education.
The office building of the Directorate of Fisheries was constructed at a cost of Rs. 5.47 crores which was sanctioned by the Government in four installments and the construction was completed almost two months ahead of its schedule without time or cost overrun.