Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has virtually laid foundation stone to four fishing harbours and 25 aqua hubs coinciding with World Fisheries Day and said the construction work will begin from December 15 after the bidding process is complete. In the first phase, four harbours are to be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 1510 crores at Juvvaladinne in Nellore district, Uppada in East Godavari, Nizampatnam in Guntur, and Machilipatnam in Krishna district along with 25 aqua hubs.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said during the 3648 km padayatra the fishing community had narrated their woes and he was witness to the dire conditions. Despite having the second-longest coastline of 974 km, due to lack of facilities there was migration of fishermen to other states and sometimes they were caught in international waters and were jailed in other countries.
Moved by their plight besides Navaratnalu, Matsyakara Bharosa was launched and steps are being taken to develop fishing harbours and aquahubs to provide employment and marketing facilities to aqua products. To boost the aqua culture in State and better the lives of fishermen, the State government proposed to develop eight fishing harbours, aqua hubs and infrastructure facilities for marketing of aqua products at Janata bazars at a cost of Rs 3500 Crore.The State Government would develop an aqua hub in each constituency, whereever required with an outlay of Rs 225 crores. Four fishing harbours and 25 aqua hubs were taken up in the first phase.
The Chief Minister stated that the government enhanced the Matsakara Bharosa from Rs 4000 to Rs 10,000 and directly credited Rs 102 Crore into the accounts of 1.02 lakh fishermen in 2019 to compensate the annual fishing ban period. Extending support to them during the COVID, Rs 110 Crore was disbursed in May 2020, six months before the actual dateline, benefiting 1.10 lakh fishermen. The government had increased the fuel subsidy from Rs 6 to Rs 9 per liter which can be redeemed instantly at 87 recognized petrol bunks and also provided power at Rs 1.50 per unit and the total subsidy of Rs 720 Crore is borne by the Government. In case of accidental death, the State has enhanced the ex gratia from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh to support the bereaved family in the hard times. He asserted that the previous government completely neglected the welfare of fishermen and aquaculture in the State.
The Chief Minister said that the lives of aqua farmers will be completely changed in the coming one year. In order to create more opportunities for the fishermen, three more ports would be undertaken at Machilipatnam, Ramayapatnam, and Bhavanapadu with an expenditure of Rs 10,000 Crore. The Chief Minister said the state government has recruited 794 people as fisheries assistants in Village Secretariats to assist fishermen and aqua farmers.
AP Fish feed Act and Aquaculture Development Authority have been formed to have quality aqua products which are free of fertilizers and chemicals. For the first time the State has set up 35 aqualabs with a cost of Rs 50 crores to check the quality of aqua products.
Earlier, for any testing aqua farmers from Krishna district used to go all the way to Kakinada due to lack of lab facilities, and such instances were seen during padayatra, he said.
AP Fisheries University would be set up in West Godavari district to give expert training in aquaculture. The work would begin in a couple of months, he said.
Ministers S Appala Raju, Botsa Satyanarayana, Agri Mission Vice Chairman MVS Nagi Reddy, Fisheries Department Special Chief Secretary Poonam Malkondaiah, Commissioner Kannababu and other officials were among those who attended the event.