By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: A year after the launch of the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM), Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma inaugurated two fish ponds under the Mission at Mawtap, Sohiong in East Khasi Hills district on Saturday.
Terming the inauguration of the fish ponds as a ‘historic moment’, Dr Sangma said the event demonstrated the commitment of the government towards empowering people, particularly the rural populace, of the State.
“The inauguration of the two fish ponds at Mawtap is a success story under the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission which will inspire many people to partner with the State Government in furthering the objective and reach of the Mission”, Dr Sangma said.
The Chief Minister also asserted that through programmes like the MSAM, the government intends to increase the per capita income of the 80 per cent of the State’s population who are farmers.
The Aquaculture Mission, which is one of the nine missions under the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme (IBDLP) has been structured to work in convergence with the other eight missions with the sole objective of economic development of the State.
The Mission has been designed with the objective of development of the existing water bodies and creation of additional water area, which would include reclamation/rehabilitation of marsh and swamp lands, for large scale production of fish.
According to Dr Sangma, the MSAM also intends to meet the nutritional requirements of the people of the State.
“A sum of Rs 50 crore will be allocated for the Mission next year,” the Chief Minister informed while recollecting that there was a time when only Rs 2 crore was sanctioned for the Fishery Department.
With the annual demand for fish in the State reaching around 33,000 metric tonnes, the MSAM is expected to produce around 20,000 metric tonnes of fish, thereby reducing the gap between demand and supply.
Earlier, Principal Secretary of Fishery department KN Kumar said that 11,473 ponds are under different stages of construction at the moment.
Kumar said the State can save up to Rs 30 crore annually, which is presently going to Andhra Pradesh’s kitty as a result of import and transportation of fish and the amount can go up to Rs 250 crore by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan.
The Principal Secretary also expressed confidence that the fish production in the State could rise to 2,300 metric tonnes next year.
Later, Dr Sangma handed over a memento and a cheque for the second installment to two beneficiaries whose fish ponds were
inaugurated on Saturday.
It may be mentioned that the Mission proposes to develop a Management Information System vested with the responsibility to collect, store and retrieve relevant and timely information for planning, executing, monitoring and evaluating the mission.
The Chairman of the District Aquaculture Mission, Sanjay Goyal, Chief Secretary WMS Pariat and GAD minister HDR Lyngdoh were also present on the occasion.