IMPHAL, Dec 22 - Funds to the tune of Rs 1.80 crore were transferred to the bank accounts of 900 fish farmers in Manipur today to give a major thrust to fish production in the State. The money is meant to develop 450 hectares of paddy fields along with fish ponds in five hill districts, thereby doubling the farmers� income.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh transferred Rs 15,000 each to the farmers to develop paddy fields and fish farms under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana � Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation, at a function here.
The Chief Minister said that Manipur produces only 27,000 MT of fish annually against the requirement of 52,000 MT. As a result, the Government needs around Rs 400 crore to import fish from other States every year.
In view of this, the Government is focusing on increasing fish production, Biren Singh said. Apart from commissioning a fish feed production unit, the State has arranged loans ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 7 lakh for fish farmers.
The Government has also sent a proposal for Rs 14 crore to the Centre in order to implement the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, out of which an amount of Rs 7.04 crore has already been sanctioned, the Chief Minister said.
Moreover, the Manipur Government is planning to submit an ambitious project of Rs 400 crore in consultation with the Central Agricultural University. In the meantime, cage culture under the Loktak Livelihood Mission and fish production through biofloc system are going on in the State.
The Government is ready to provide assistance through bank loans and Manipur startup and standup schemes to achieve self-sufficiency in fish production, Biren Singh said.
In his speech, Fisheries Minister S Rajen Singh also exhorted the people to extend cooperation to the Government in making Manipur a self-reliant State.
The main objective of implementing the paddy-cum-pisciculture project is to double farmers� income from the same field, develop the paddy fields by raising peripheral rings, and construct feeding channels across the paddy fields with small ponds. Additional Chief Secretary (Fishery) MH Khan and Director (Fishery) N Gojendro Singh were also present in the day�s function.