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Mukul Launches State Aquaculture Mission

06 March 2012

INDIA - Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma has launched the State Aquaculture Mission to develop fisheries as an alternate industry. The mission comes amidst growing concern that rivers in the State are turning acidic due to years of unscientifically regulated mining.

Mr Sangma launched the project at a function at the Polo Ground and said it would target farmers during the next five years. The basic objective of the project is to expand the area covered under fisheries and increase productivity, reports SOURCE.

Other aspects of the mission are to conserve indigenous fish varieties, train farmers in modern technological know-how and developing other ancillary industries related to aquaculture.

“We need the help and support of everyone in the State to transform this aquaculture mission into a people’s movement,” he told the gathering of farmers who came from all corners of the State.

However, there is great concern about the quality of the water deteriorating in many of the rivers in the State due to years of unscientific mining. Aquatic life has vanished in these rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills where coal and limestone mining is a major industry.

The acidic nature of the water has corroded costly equipment in the Kopili Hydel project and there is apprehension about the recently inaugurated Leskha-Myntdu project facing similar consequences.

“The rivers have been poisoned and this is affecting fishing areas. We must protect these rivers and the ecosystem,” Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh said at the function.

Chairman of the State Planning Board and former Chief Minister Donkupar Roy also expressed concern saying the Ranikor and Umgnot rivers have all been contaminated by the industries and people. “We need to protect our rivers from people and industries,” he said.

Mr Sangma said alternative source of income like fish farming would ease the pressure from mining non-renewable minerals and would help in conservation programmes.

He said the government is providing 60 per cent grant to farmers who are willing to take up aquaculture. The government will assist the farmers in getting credit and loan facilities for another 30 per cent from different agencies. The rest would be borne by the beneficiaries themselves.

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