Non-resident Odia (NRO) Prof Digambara Patra of the American University of Beirut, who is a native of Kalahandi district, has suggested the State Government to explore possibility of fish farming in major dams including the Hirakud reservoirs, to provide employment to the migrant workers who have returned Odisha from other States in the wake of Covid 19 outbreak.
The Hirakud Dam has about 70,000 hectares of water area covering the districts of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Bargarh. Such a huge water area can be better managed and exploited to generate livelihood and business. For example, the water area can be a great opportunity for large scale fish farming, production, value addition and establishment of ancillary fields leading to large scale employment generation, Prof Patra told in a letter to CM Naveen Patnaik.
The dam alone has the potential to generate employment and livelihood for 5,000 people or more through fish farming. Hirakud dam has about 43 different kinds of fish species and various other aquatic plants and animals that depend on the dam for their food and breeding purposes. Of course, any sort of external interference to imbalance the ecological condition may cause destruction to the fish and fauna of such a system, he told.
Prof Patra suggested the State Government to enact a policy for such water reservoirs similar to the marine sector or Chilika lake, where brewing season from June to August can be observed closed for fishing operations and fishermen may be compensated during the period. Similar opportunities may also be created in Indravati dam, Rengali dam, Lower Indra dam, Patora dam, Machkund dam and Kolab dam, etc.