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Youths, get hooked to fish farming

- Minister pitches pisciculture as livelihood option to thwart Naxalism

Animal husbandry and fishery department minister Mannan Mallick on Tuesday used the pisciculture bait to wean village youths off Naxalism, urging them to take up fish farming as a lucrative livelihood option.

The Congress leader, while inaugurating a three-day training programme on how to rear the aquatic life at a fish farm at Shalimar in Dhurwa, said: “Fishery offers good employment opportunities. I have seen several people earning in lakhs through fish farming. Youths should also engage themselves in fishing activities to earn a livelihood instead of joining Naxalites. If there is peace, there will be no crisis of jobs.”

A fish lover, the minister went on to add how the marine species was enjoyed as a delicacy by all, cutting across castes, creed and religions.

But his love for fish hadn’t prepared him for the brush with the 28kg rohu that was brought to the training venue. Netted by Balmukund Sahu, a fisherman at Getalsud Dam, the big catch was used to prepare delicacies like fish ball, fish cutlet, fish sticks, fish keema and so on as part of the training programme that saw participation of 150 fish farmers from across the state.

“This is the first time that I am seeing such a big fish. I have seen a fish weighing 18kg. But this is bigger,” he said, expressing his satisfaction over the quality of fish produced in the state.

Director of fishery department Rajiv Kumar charted the growth of fish trade in Jharkhand.

“When Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in 2000, fish production was just 14,000 metric tonne. Now, the figure is approaching one lakh metric tonne. As far as revenue is concerned, it has shot up from Rs 37 lakh to more than Rs 5 crore,” he said.

Similarly, more and more people took to fish farming in the past 12 years. “At the time of creation of Jharkhand, only 11,300 people were associated with fish production across the state. The number has reached 87,000 at present,” Kumar said.

Dara Singh Hansda, who had come to participate in the training programme from Baghmara in West Singhbhum, was happy with the tips he got. “After interacting with fishery department officials, I got a clear idea about how fishery can help me become rich. I will return to my village and devote all my energy and time to rearing fish,” he said.

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