Dimapur, July 27: The People for Democratic Rights (PDR) has questioned the Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources on the utilization of funds meant for development of fishery activities in Nagaland and demanded the Department to bring out a white paper on the fishery activities in the state and the reason for declining fish production.
“No amount of money released for any project will be result oriented unless the nodal agencies go for physical verification of the projects and effectively monitor the projects on ground,” a press release issued by media cell of PDR stated.
Citing Nagaland Economic Survey 2016-17, the PDR stated that fish production increased to 8605 MT during 2016-17 from 8220 MT in 2015-16. However, during 2017-18, the fish production was again reduced to 8200 MT covering only about 30% of the total requirement of fish consumption in the state. It said the decline in fish production was reflected in the speech of former Secretary, Department of Fisheries while speaking during a programme in Kohima on April 17, 2018 and published in the local dailies.
The PDR also termed it unfortunate the “demand-supply gap” as indicated in the Annual Administrative Report of the Department of Fisheries 2017-18, despite huge amounts of money being released for various fishery activities.
It said during the financial year 2017-18 alone under the Blue Revolution (NEC project), the Finance Department, Expenditure ‘B’ Branch released Rs 7.35 crore to Department of Fisheries under Demand number 51 on various occasions:
If further stated that for development of fish seed and table farm, Ghowoto village Dimapur under NEC0, a total amount of Rs 2.40 crore was also released on March 29, 2018 and December 5, 2017. The amount of Rs 2.40 crore was only the 1st installment inclusive of state share. Since it clearly mentions as the 1st installment, more funds are anticipated.
On development of paddy-cum-fish culture in Nagaland, the PDR said on June 12, 2017 and March 16, 2018, an amount of Rs 8, 54, 000 and Rs 16, 00, 000 respectively were released as 10 % state share for 1st and 2nd installment for Development of Paddy-cum-Fish Culture in Nagaland.
Since it is only the state share, if one has to calculate the 90% centre share for the 2 installments, the amount comes to more than Rs 2 crore which PDR has doubt whether it has been released to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
On September 5, 2017, another amount of Rs 1, 44, 00, 000 was released for Development of Paddy-cum-Fish Culture in Nagaland was released. This DA does not mention anything about state share, centre share or the installment, it said
The PDR further stated that an amount of Rs 1 crore was released on 24 August 2017 for Development of Table Fish Production Centre at Zuheshe Village, Dimapur.
It also disclosed that a total amount of Rs 1.50 crore was released on 3 different dates for implementation of Fisheries Project at Molungyimsen village, Mokokchung during 2017-18. Rs 96, 52, 000, Rs 9, 65, 000 and Rs 43, 43, 000 was released on 13 June 2017, 28 July 2017 and 28 March 2018 respectively.
Besides the above amounts being released, several scores of lakhs of rupees were released for various fishery activities in the State during 2017-18 excluding Rs 10 lakh released on 12 June 2017 as state share against 3rd instalment under NEC for Reclamation and Renovation of Old Pond and Tank in Nagaland. This 10 % state share means that the NEC sanctioned Rs 1 crore approximately, it added.
There are various other ongoing fishery projects existent prior to 2017-18 and crores have been invested, it alleged.
The PDR further said at this current fish-scarcity situation in Nagaland, perhaps the Fisheries Department could have played a major role in mitigating the situation to some level and not only organize highly publicized a single day fish sale after which the Department cocoons itself.
As per records, Nagaland has the potential to develop 30,000 hectares of fishery pond culture out of which only 4000 hectares have been covered so far. (Page News Service)