The demand for fish delicacies is rising in the Millennium City, but residents say there are no good fish markets here. The authorities have not seriously considered maintaining proper markets for this product in Gurgaon, and hence the trade has shifted to neighbouring Mewat for want of land and water.
Several villages in the district that can run fisheries don't get power and water supply. "The demand for fish has increased over the years. But the authorities have ignored our request to build a modern, centralised fish market," said an official in the fisheries department.
Faridabad has an authorised fish market, and Panipat will have one by December this year. Currently, small fish markets in Gurgaon are unregulated.
They operate with permission from landowners and informal trade associations. A few private players sell frozen non-vegetarian items at posh areas, which are not enough to serve the needs of the entire population.
“We have used only 402 hectares of land for fisheries, though this year's target is 475 hectares. We can't raise fish farms due to lack of water supply and rapid industrialisation, so our activities have moved to Mewat,” said district fisheries officer Anita Dahiya.
The land surrounding Mewat water canal is fertile and fish are raised in nearby village ponds. But people in Tej Nagar village of Gurgaon don't want to start or maintain fish farms due to water shortage.
Some villagers outsource the work to private companies that can afford water supply. These companies then sell fish in the open market in premium prices.
“Damdama lake, which used to be our major source of raising fish in Gurgaon, has dried up due to stone-crushing activities nearby. Development projects have blocked several streams flowing into the lake," said Dahiya.
“Gurgaon’s land value was worthless until modern industries arrived here. This was because the land was infertile, and it still is. Rainfall is also low. All these factors are not good for maintaining fish farms," added Dahiya.