Giriraj Singh at Raj Bhavan: Goa must be self-dependant in fisheries, dairy and animal husbandry.
By Our Special Correspondent
Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Industry Giriraj Singh promises a Blue Revolution in Goa so that Goans may be self-dependent…
It is not often that media people find themselves attending a press conference at the grand heritage venue of the Raj Bhavan of Goa. But thanks to visiting Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh, here to attend the day-long 171-member executive meeting of the Bharatya Janata Party on February 7, 2021, that media people found themselves at the conference hall of the Raj Bhavan to listen to details of some more funds coming to Goa for building up a holistic infrastructure in fisheries, animal husbandry and the dairy industry.
During his three-day trip to Goa the Union minister had been taking stock of the status of the fisheries business and come to the conclusion that it is in need of funds to upgrade itself. As the Union government’s largess overflows Goa is now to get Rs400 crore to upgrade itself vis-a-vis infrastructure needed for the growth of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy development. So that Goa may not be left behind in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat or a self-dependent India.
Without seeing any contradictions and contraindications the minister said that he was saddened to see the state of neglect in the three areas beginning with the fisheries sector. While he understands that tourism has become the main sector in earning revenue for the people of Goa, there is ample scope for the small state to become the “hub takeoff” for the fishing business. A Rs400 crore project has been mooted which will see cage rearing of fish as well as many jetties coming up along Goa’s 105km coast as well as riverine points. Currently, he said, Goa does not have the infrastructure to deal with the huge revenue which can be earned through the export of fish and Goa is the ideal place to centralize the harvesting of fish (which presumably is much in demand abroad).
It is time for Goa to move ahead in keeping with the rest of the world vis-à-vis fisheries and in this respect 30 sites have already been selected where jetties (floating or otherwise) will come up to serve as landing places to bring in the fish harvested at sea by fishermen, including trawlers who go further afield in the seas waters to catch bumper harvests of bigger fish. He spoke of 70 “village mitra” who will educate the people about this “yojana” and show them how to culture fish in cages (something which is being done in other countries). These cage breeding of fish is done in clusters and the cages may be small or big in sizes of 3 mts by 10mts or 6mts by 4mts, both NIO and CMFIR will be involved in setting up this project of cage culture for breeding and harvesting a variety of fish. Cage culture for fish breeding can be set up in 72 or 200 sqmt areas along the coastal belt.
It is a mindboggling how much fish can be harvested through cage culture, exclaimed a very impressed Union Minister Giriraj Singh. From the sound of it the Rs400 crore gift to Goa for upgrading fisheries as also animal husbandry and dairy industry will be disbursed over a period of five years or so under the Pradhan Mantri Matsy Sampade Yojan (which has a total all-India budget of Rs20,050 crore). Cage culture is a safe and sure way of rearing fish reiterated the Union minister and for a start Goa will get a 1,000 of these cages to kick-start the scheme.
He also has in mind a seaweed harvesting complex in Goa for seaweed is much in demand abroad (seaweed is a super food business but hitherto only Indonesia and China are cashing in on the demand which is something like a 15 billion dollar business).
Tamil Nadu has already started seaweed culture and Goa too can also pick it up to earn good revenue. As for the Goan fisheries he has seen for himself how its growth is being handicapped by lack of an infrastructure. But this is about to change, he promised, with investment in the right technologies in place, including cold chain systems and state-of-the-art transportation. Goa will become a fisheries hub.
The minister also spoke of many things from a state-of-the-art ultra sanitized seafood market, an aquarium along the lines of what is in Singapore, of artificial insemination in piggeries business and test-tube babies in the dairy industry, as also free vaccines for protection from 29 diseases including foot and mouth, not to forget oyster cultivation…interestingly, the minister had also suggested that the old mining pits of water in the mining belts of Goa be used for setting up cage culture to harvest fish! Minister Giriraj Singh said his three days in Goa had been so hectic touring the areas earmarked for financial and other help that he had no time to see the beautiful tourist sights of Goa. All that is left now is to win the confidence of the fisher folk and make them see how his splendid vision for Goa in the years to come can transform their lives for the better.
It was such a pep talk that from the sound of it ache din will be here in Goa soon to make up for the terrible Covid-19 lockdowns of last year. Keep your fingers that some of the ache din will come your way! A reporter spoke about the beaches of Goa which are going black courtesy coal dust but the minister brushed aside the question. Somebody else asked the minister if it is not time to think of the environment and the health of our seas and oceans — where there is more plastic waste than marine life these days — about the right of marine life to live in peace, without boats and trawlers chasing them constantly, but this question too he brushed aside snapping angrily, “Yeh koi sawal hai kya!” (What kind of question is this?)
Clearly, fish and marine life and the ecosystems in which they breed, proliferate and live in peace don’t have any rights. The world is not made up of vegans or vegetarians!