Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday said the Fishery sector has immense potential and “we must vigorously engage in it for deriving maximum benefits”.
“Assam is blessed with abundant water resources and we have the capacity to become biggest producer and exporter of fish in the country. But for that, we must adopt latest scientific technologies for augmenting our production,” said Chief Minister Sonowal on Monday while participating in a meeting organised to distribute appointment letters to 32 junior engineers of the Fisheries Department at the conference hall of Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Janata Bhawan.
Calling on the new appointees to spend a night with the fishermen and the fish producers for understanding their difficulties and challenges, Sonowal directed the Fishery Department to prepare an assessment report of the required quantity of fish in the State for gaining a clear picture about the potential of the market.
The Act East Policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened a window of opportunity for the state fish producers to gain access to South East Asian market and they must be prepared to compete with the best in the world, he stated.
Appreciating the Fishery Department for being able to increase the state’s fish production by 20,000 metric tonne in 2017-18 from the previous year, the chief minister said that Chief Minister’s Samagra Grammya Unnayan Yojna (CMSGUY), a scheme to transform the rural economy with a budget outlay of Rs 33,000 crore, has also kept fishery as a priority area. The infinite potential of Brahmaputra and Barak rivers must be harnessed to achieve fast paced development of state and vast presence of natural water-bodies must be properly utilised for growing the fishery sector, he said.
Saying that commercial fishermen go through a lot of hardships to catch fish which one cannot realise without witnessing their painstaking processes, Sonowal announced that best fishermen and fish producers would be felicitated at a state level programme to acknowledge their contribution to the state’s fishery sector. Hoping that the newly appointed Junior Engineers would be able to make positive change in the department by infusing fresh thoughts and knowledge, the chief minister urged them to dedicate themselves to the cause of making the state a top fish exporter in near future.
Highlighting the programme of distributing Soil Health Cards to the farmers as an important step by Prime Minister Modi led central government to give the farmers knowledge about the quality of their farming lands, Sonowal informed that Soil Health Cards have been distributed to 11 lakh farmers of the state and now distribution of Water Health Card is also being planned.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Fishery Department Parimal Suklabaidya informed that NABARD has approved a package of Rs 100 crore for 1000 hectares of fisheries of individual owners and even if the fish export into the state is totally stopped, the state has the capacity to meet the requirement with its own production.
Suklabaidya also said that concerted effort of all the officials of the Fishery Department has resulted in the 3.27 lakh metric tonne production of fish in the State in 2017-18 which is an increase of 20,000 metric tonnes from the previous year and urged the new appointees to strengthen the department in its endeavour to make Assam a top fish producing State.
Media Adviser to the Chief Minister Hrishikesh Goswami, Secretary of Fishery Department Rakesh Kumar, Director of Fisheries PN Das were also present in them meeting among others.