Chief Minister N Biren attended a ranching programme today aimed at rejuvenation of Pengba (Osteobrama Belangeri), State Fish of Manipur in Loktak Lake and distribution of inputs (Cage Net and Fish Feed) at Sendra, Bishnupur District. One lakh fishlings are released during the programme.
Addressing the formal function, the Chief Minister also appealed to the fish farmers against using electric current to catch fish. N Biren also spoke strongly against encroachment on forest land and Loktak Lake. Stating that out of 12,344 pattadars around the lake, 379 illegal encroachers were found, he said adding that after the Loktak Protection Act was implemented in 2006, no new patta could be issued. He reiterated that stringent actions will be taken up against all encroachers and concerned government officials who were involved in issuing illegal pattas.
N Biren also appreciated the concerted efforts and schemes of the ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore taken up in collaboration with local fishermen and the department in trying to protect and revive the indigenous fish varieties of the State.
Out of 54 indigenous fish varieties in the State, we have now only 35 varieties in existence, he said, expressing concern over the environmental hazard caused by human negligence. He strongly deliberated on the public habit of dumping garbage into our rivers which in turn fall into Loktak Lake and making it hard for the fish and other organisms to survive.
Explaining the story behind implementation of the Loktak Livelihood Mission in 2018, the Chief Minister said that during his air travels, he noticed a vast tract of swampy area around Loktak Lake lying idle. This gave him an idea to utilize the area for rearing fish by means of pen culture after clearing the phumdis which in turn will be turned into organic fertilizer, he said.
The Chief Minister also said that altogether Rs. 15 crore has already been sanctioned for developmental works for the peripheral area of Loktak Lake and only about Rs. 2.5 crore have been utilized so far. Highlighting that the shortage of fish production in the State is due to lack of releasing fish in the lake, the Chief Minister said today we are releasing one lakh fishlings, and aim to release around one crore during the month of May. He also made an earnest appeal to the fish farmers to create awareness among the public as well as stop catching fishlings.
Director (Fisheries), Government of Manipur, H Balkrisna Singh stated that due to overfishing in the Loktak lake, the population of fishes are depleting and to supplement the depleting population and as Pengba is declared the State Fish of Manipur, one lakh fishlings are being released into the lake today.
Asserting that the fishlings will need atleast six months before it is fully grown, the Director appealed to local fishermen to protect them and allow them to grow fully in an undisturbed habitat. He said once these fishlings grow and start breeding, it will help in improving the local economy as well as in preserving the State fish.
ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore Director Dr B K Das said the population of State fish Pengba is gradually declining in Loktak Lake and so ICAR-CIFRI is trying to re-establish its population in the lake. He said that they will mark this day so that this fish can establish its population within 2-3 years in the lake, and at the same time increase the livelihood of the local fish farmers. The programme also included distribution of Inputs including cage net and fish feeds to fish farmers’ associations.
The programme was organised by ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries, Government of Manipur and Loktak Development Authority, Manipur.
Today’s programme was also attended by the Fisheries Minister H. Dingo Singh, Thanga AC MLA T Robindro Singh, MLA Mayang Imphal AC K Robindro, Keirao AC MLA L Rameshwor Meetei, Moirang AC MLA Th Shanti, Chairman Loktak Development Authority, Manipur M Asnikumar Singh among others.
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