Ranchi, Jharkhand | February | 11, 2021 :: The incumbent government headed by Chief Minister Hemant Soren has envisioned to make Jharkhand one of the leading states in the field of fish farming. This vision along with the recently launched livelihood scheme is already yielding positive results.
In Ranchi’s Khalari block, displaced families have started to earn their livelihoods through the practice of cage fish farming. Many families which were displaced due to the Silongoda mines project have joined the scheme introduced by the Ranchi District Administration & Department of Fisheries, and are earning their livelihood through fish farming. Baleshwar Ganju is the breadwinner for one of many families who were displaced due to mining and whose life hasn’t been easy. However, the joint efforts put in by the district administration and fisheries department is helping him earn a living for himself and his family through this scheme.
*Project helping change the way people earn their living*
With support from government and fish cooperatives, these families were trained in fish farming through the cage culture. Baleshwar is also the chairman of Ganjhu Matsya Jeeva Sahyog Samiti Limited. He says, “The committee consists of several displaced families. All of these families have been provided with five cages to practice fish farming by the Ranchi district administration. Fish production is being practised with the help of it. Apart from this, five life jackets, one boat, shed house, fodder, and fish seed have also been provided by the administration.”
*What is Cage Culture fish farming? *
Cage fishery is a recent technology being employed to practice fish farming in many developing countries. This helps improve the rate of production and at the same time brings down the cost of production. Existing resources are being utilised to maximise benefits. In Khalari, there are many abandoned coal mines & stone mines, therefore, the open coalfield and stone mines are being used as reservoirs for fish farming.
*Reutilizing closed mine and converting it to source of livelihood*
Khalari does not have water resources in abundance. However, many closed mines are now filled with rainwater and are being used for the fish farming. Earlier these mines were of no use, but with the introduction of fish farming in the region through the Cage Culture Scheme, the same dormant mines are helping the government generate new avenues of employment. Fish produced by the cooperative societies in Khalari are already in the market and has helped the respective committee earn more than one hundred thousand rupees. Fish farming will continue to take place in these closed mines for a period of 10-15 years.
DMFT funds helped set up the fish production unit and the Fisheries department provided the training in techniques of farming. Ranchi District Fisheries Officer, Dr Arup Kumar Choudhary said that the project was approved under the District Mining Foundation Trust (DMFT Scheme) for the upliftment of families affected by Silangoda Coal Field Mines operation.
For the smooth running of the project, a cooperative society was also formed, which is being run by the villagers themselves. This project was initiated as a pilot and can produce 25 to 30 tons of fish per year. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, operationalisation of the project got delayed but since its commencement, positive results are being recorded. Emphasis is being laid on the proper implementation of the scheme as per the direction of the government. It is estimated that five hundred people can be linked with employment through Cage fish farming.
*Managing the issue of migration by providing livelihood*
Dr Arup says “This kind of project will prevent migration in the area. Apart from this, it will also benefit people in three ways; one is the livelihood generation, second is the easy availability of fish in local markets and third is the consumption of fish in meals can help prevent malnutrition.
About the District Mining Foundation Trust, the Trust is used for the development and upliftment of families affected or displaced by the mining operations taking place in the district along with the surrounding area. The DMFT operations focus on supporting the affected families in areas of livelihood generation, health, education and nutrition.