SHILLONG: The new office building of the Directorate of Fisheries was inaugurated by Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma today at an impressive inaugural programme held here in the office premises at Dhankheti in the presence of the Chief Secretary PBO Warjri, Additional Chief Secretary, KS Kropha, Principal Secretary, Fisheries, K N Kumar, Director of Fisheries I R Sangma, others officials of the department, fishery entrepreneurs, fish farmers and partners in Aquaculture Mission.
The new building 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. Besides the conference hall for the officers and training hall for farmers, the building will also have an aquarium for ornamental fish, a library and also house the office of the District Fishery so as to make optimal use of the infrastructure.
Addressing the gathering as the chief guest on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that there are so much of potentialities in the fishery sector which is directly linked to the people, but there was very little they could do as the budget allocation for the sector used to be very low. He also said that although the 1000 Ponds Scheme generated a lot of interest among the partners it was not enough to meet the demands and 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. 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, he added and congratulated all the partners who have ensured the success of this intervention.
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, adding that the biggest challenge is infusing the spirit of entrepreneurship among our indigenous communities.
He congratulated the department saying that having a building is itself an achievement and hoped that it would encourage the farmers come and have an interface with the officers. Stating that it is difficult for the people coming from the villages to meet the officers and at the same time the officers have to work in difficult situations, the Chief Minister informed that the government has decided to construct integrated office and residential complexes in all the district headquarters in order to minimize the inconvenience of the rural people and also to ensure secured environment to the officers.
Earlier, the Chief Minister, together with other dignitaries, released the “Evaluation Report of the 1000 Ponds Scheme” to mark the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion as the guest of honour, the Chief Secretary P B O Warjri 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. He 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, K. N. Kumar also 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% of the additional income that the farmers and beneficiaries have availed from the scheme were invested in their children’s education.
Additional Chief Secretary, K S Kropha also spoke on the occasion while the Director of Fisheries, I R Sangma briefly highlighted on the background of the Department.