Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday called upon progressive fish farmers to install subsidised solar pumps for fishery activities at their fish farms to make their farming financially viable.
Stating this on Monday, a spokesperson for the CM’s office said Badal was presiding over the first meeting of the recently-constituted state fishery development board to boost fish farming in Punjab, especially in waterlogged areas in the southern belt.
Badal asked the departments concerned to work out modalities to exempt fish farming activities from the commercial tariff being levied on electricity consumption.
The board also approved to constitute a nine-member executive committee headed by the financial commissioner, animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy development to ensure effective implementation of the decisions taken in the board, besides monitoring various developments in this sector for the promotion of fishery in a big way.
The CM emphasised the need to promote fish farming on a mass scale as traditional agriculture was no longer remunerative and the only solution was to shift towards allied farming activities such as fishery, dairy and bee-keeping in order to enhance the income of farmers manifold.
He said the state government had planned to set up 14 modern government fish seed farms, of which seven would be set up in Bathinda, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Ludhiana, Faridkot and Amritsar, at a cost of Rs. 18.34 crore during 2014-15, whereas the other seven would be taken up in the next year. He added that the state government was also providing 50% subsidy for setting up new fish farms in the state.
Terming Andhra Pradesh as one of most developed states in fish production, Badal said recently he had impressed upon his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu to depute a team of fishery experts to visit Punjab for sharing their vast experience and rich expertise related to fish hatcheries, fish rearing and post-harvest technology.
The chief minister thanked Naidu for sending a special team of Dr TV Raman, Dr P Sai Baba, Dr Ravi Rama Krishna and Prof Padam Kumar, who were now in the state on a three-day study tour.
Punjab State Farmers’ Commission chairman Dr GS Kalkat and financial commissioner, animal husbandry, G Vajralingam also attended the meeting.