In a remarkable endeavor to transform the state’s economy, the Himachal Pradesh government is orchestrating the blue revolution, a movement propelled by the visionary efforts of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. At the heart of this revolution, lie the bountiful rivers of Himachal, teeming with an invaluable water wealth. Recognizing the untapped potential, the government is spearheading a blue revolution, harnessing the streams of these rivers to invigorate the state’s fortunes.
A key aspect of this transformative movement is the promotion of fisheries on a commercial scale, aiming to fortify the rural economy with a fresh wave of prosperity. With a strategic focus on reservoirs viz; Govind Sagar, Pong, Chamera, Ranjit Sagar, and Koldam, the government is generously extending incentives to fishermen, paving the way for their economic well-being.
To propel trout production to new heights, the government has embarked on an ambitious plan to construct 120 trout units. Fueling this vision, at present a significant amount of Rs. 202.838 lahks has been allocated under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, empowering various circles to establish 106 trout units. Currently, the selection process for beneficiaries and the distribution of gratuity amount are underway at the district and divisional levels, ensuring a seamless implementation of this transformative initiative. These endeavours have kindled tremendous possibilities for trout fish production in the high-altitude regions of the state.
The government’s commitment to revolutionizing the fisheries sector doesn’t stop there. It has dedicated Rs. 60 lakh for the construction of two ‘state-of-the-art’ trout hatcheries, heralding a new era of advanced aquaculture practices. Embracing modern fish farming techniques, the state is enthusiastically promoting the adoption of Biofloc, a cutting-edge methodology. Biofloc Technology (BFT) is considered as new “blue revolution” since nutrients can be continuously recycled and reused in the culture medium, benefited by the minimum or zero-water exchange. BFT is an environment friendly aquaculture technique based on in-situ microorganism production.
In pursuit of this, the government plans to establish five small-scale bio floc units across the state, empowering and uplifting individuals associated with the fisheries industry. To this end, an allocation of Rs. 19.50 lakh has been disbursed to various circles.
Recognizing the vital role of fish feed in ensuring the sustenance of this sector the government has allocated Rs. 42 lakh to establish three fish feed plants within the state. These plants will bolster the availability of quality feed, contributing to the overall productivity and growth of the fisheries sector.
Moreover, the government envisions the creation of a ‘state-of-the-art’ fisheries training center at Carp Farm, Gagret in Una district, investing a substantial sum of rupees five crore. This cutting-edge facility will provide comprehensive training to 600 fish farmers, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in this evolving industry.
In a bid to enhance the state’s infrastructure for fish preservation and distribution, an ice factory is set to grace the landscape with a cost of Rs. 48 lakh. This facility will play a pivotal role in maintaining the freshness and quality of the fish produce, reinforcing the state’s commitment to provide top-notch products to consumers.
The government’s unwavering dedication to generating employment and self-employment opportunities through fisheries is evident in its remarkable achievements. The present state government in its maiden budget set a target to provide self-employment opportunities to 500 youth in the current financial year and by May 2023, the department had already paved the path to self-employment for 247 individuals within the state, transforming their lives and bolstering their financial well-being.
The impressive success of these endeavours is mirrored in the remarkable growth of fish production in Himachal Pradesh. During the year 2021-22, an astounding 16,015.81 metric tonnes of fish were reared, an achievement surpassed in 2022-23 with a staggering production of 17,026.09 metric tonnes. In the iconic Govind Sagar reservoir alone, a substantial 182.85 metric tonnes were yielded, while Pong Dam contributed an impressive 313.65 metric tonnes. These numbers solidify the fisheries sector’s status as a paramount pillar, providing farmers with an additional source of income and empowering economically disadvantaged communities with sustainable livelihood opportunities.
As the state government continues to spearhead the blue revolution the fisheries sector stand as a testament to its unwavering commitment to uplift the lives of its people. Through meticulous planning, strategic investments, and a vision for a brighter future, Himachal Pradesh is scripting a tale of aquatic renaissance, with its rivers and fisheries at the heart of this captivating narrative.