THE INDIAN Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has decided to merge the Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), Lucknow, with the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Lucknow. Will the CIFE, Lucknow, then, be a fish out of water?
The decision communicated to the CIFE last week, has created something of a panic and has demoralised scientists, students, trainers and other staff. The reason: CIFE and NBFGR’s objectives don’t match and the merger will be detrimental to the interests of fish farmers in the State. Also, when the CIFE was doing a good job, such a move was most unexpected.
“The credentials and expertise of the institute had made the UP Water Structuring Irrigation Department request the institute to coordinate in a pilot project sponsored by the World Bank to develop 4 lakh hectare of wet land and the project has entrusted advisory and fisheries training responsibilities to the institute. About 10,000 farmers are to be trained under the project. In view of this, the State Government had leased 17.5 hectare land to the institute to extend its activities,” said a scientist.
CIFE, Lucknow Centre has the status of a deemed university and is the pioneer fisheries institute imparting training to fish farmers and some other people in the State. Then Chief Minister ND Tewari brought the Centre to Lucknow from Agra in 1986. Its activities involve training, research, extension and advisory services in various disciplines of fisheries. It provides analysis of water and soil for fish farms, provides quality fish seed to fish farmers etc. Under its technical guidance, many fish farms and carp hatcheries have been set up in both public and private sectors.
Both CIFE and NBFGR are under ICAR. Though both CIFE and NBFGR have fish as their work area, NBFGR’s objectives are drastically different from that of CIFE’s. NBFGR’s objective is to research fish genetics.
A group of scientists and research scholars at the institute is planning to appeal to the State Government to impress upon the ICAR not to compromise with the identity and functioning of the institute as the State has benefited a lot from it in the past and has lot of potential utilities from it, said a research scholar with the institute.