Fishermen, like farmers, in Chhattisgarh are set to get benefits such as interest free loans as well as concessions in water and electricity cess following the government's decision to give fishery the status of agriculture in the state.
This will not only promote fishery in the state but also bring about positive changes in the lives of 220,000 people engaged in the industry, an official communication said on Friday.
In the last two and a half years, the government’s efforts have resulted in a significant expansion of the fishery sector.
The state has registered a growth of 13 percent in terms of fish seed production and 9 percent in fish production. At present, fishermen get a loan of up to Rs 1 lakh at 1 percent interest and a loan of up to Rs 3 lakh at 3 percent interest.
Now with fishery getting the status of agriculture, people in the fishery sector will get loans from cooperative societies at 0 percent interest. Fishermen will also have credit card facility.
In Chhattisgarh, water for fish farming has to be supplied from irrigation dams and reservoirs through canal in an area of 30,000 hectares, for which fish farmers and fishermen pay Rs 4 per 10,000 cubic feet of water.
Now they can get water supply for free and neither do they have to pay the electricity tax at the rate of Rs 4.40 per unit.
With this decision, the cost of fish production will come down by about Rs 10 per kg, directly benefitting the people associated with fishery business.
Chhattisgarh ranks sixth in the country for production of fish seeds and fishes. Now Chhattisgarh has a chance of moving up the rank and becoming the leading state in the field.
Chhattisgarh is self-sufficient in terms of fish seed production and supplies fish seed to Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar.
In the last two and a half years, about 1,000 new ponds have been built for the purpose of fisheries with the help of the government.
The government is formulating a new fish farming policy to promote fisheries and to provide more facilities to the fish farmers and fishermen in the state.