State Planning Board chairman to inspect fish ponds under Aquaculture Mission

Shillong, Oct 9: State Planning Board chairman, Lambor Malngiang has decided to conduct a spot inspection of fish ponds constructed under the Aquaculture mission across the state next month.

The mission seeks to make the state self sufficient in fish production.

Malngiang told reporters on Wednesday that the board was waiting for the fisheries department to submit a comprehensive report on the matter before going for the spot inspection to different districts.

“After receiving the report, we would conduct the inspection for verification by November,” he said, adding that he would target districts where each fish pond was constructed at a cost of Rs 20-25 lakh to know the amount of fish production from such ponds.

A total of 27,000 fish ponds have been sanctioned under the Aqua-culture mission, which is also one of the livelihood programmes of the state government, with expenditure to the tune of nearly Rs 400 crore.

Of these, 19,000 fish ponds have already been constructed while the remaining is 8,000, he said quoting the official report from the department.

Malngiang also admitted that there is huge shortage of fish production in the state and said, “If 27,000 fish ponds have been constructed, the fish production would increase and state will no longer require importing fish from outside but would rather start exporting to other states.”

Asked, the chairman of the planning board said it is only after conducting the inspection will he know whether there is any misappropriation of funds for the implementation of this particular flagship programme.

“You will get to know by next month whether there are any ghost fish ponds or not. If we found out any misuse in the implementation of the mission, we would immediate constitute a committee to inquire into the matter,” he said.

On the concern expressed over agricultural land being converted into fish ponds, Malngiang however said there have been such reports in Ri Bhoi District in which some are getting subsidy from the government while others are private investments that we cannot interfere. However, there is nil in East Khasi Hills District.

“We will take up this matter to ensure that agricultural lands are not affected keeping in mind the food security aspect,” he said while asserting the need to make the fisheries act more stringent while implementing the programme.