Fish farmers demand loan money, warn of agitations
In June 2020, the Central government had sanctioned a total amount of Rs 129 crore under ICDP’s Manipur Fishery Project to bring development in the fisheries cooperative sectors of four districts of Manipur.
Cooperative fish farmers of Manipur on Monday demanded the state government to release the loan amount to the eligible beneficiaries under Integrated Cooperative Development Project (ICDP)’s Manipur Fishery Project within April and warned that it will resort to agitations otherwise.
In June 2020, the Central government had sanctioned a total amount of Rs 129 crore under ICDP’s Manipur Fishery Project to bring development in the fisheries cooperative sectors of four districts (Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Kakching) of Manipur, said chairman of Valley District Fishermen's Cooperative Federation K Nabachandra while speaking to the media on Monday in Imphal.
However, the state government had not released the amount to the beneficiaries in the form of loans till date, on the consideration that the farmers will fail to repay the loan amount, he said.
“It is unfortunate that the state government officials considered the ICDP scheme as similar to the regular loans given by banks. Such thinking of the officials will be a big obstacle in making Manipur self-reliant on fish products which is also a vision of the chief minister,” he added.
As told by officials of ICDP, the amount of Rs 129 crore will become lapse if it is not utilised by July 31, mentioning that he sought the intervention of chief minister N Biren for early sanctioning of the loan amount to the beneficiaries and bring development in the fisheries sector of the state.
He mentioned that the state fish productivity is around 32 metric tonne per annum. However, the state has consumed around 50 metric tonnes per annum. So more than Rs 400 crore are spent annually to purchase fish products from outside the state, added the chairman.
Asserting that renovation works of fish ponds under the ICDP fishery project will not help in increasing the fish productivity, Nabachandra suggested the government to include ‘new pond construction’ in the project to increase fish productivity.