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Fisheries Dept leases out mega shrimp project

Bhubaneswar, Sep 2: The Fisheries Department on Friday signed a lease agreement with the Falcon Marine Exports Limited which will manage three clusters having a gross water area of 433 hectare of Jagatajore-Banapada Shrimp Culture Project in Kendrapara district.

The clusters comprise 437 culture ponds with a water spread area of 257 hectares. The State Government will get revenue of Rs.13 crore – over Rs 82 lakh in the first year itself – from Falcon Marine for the lease period of 15 years.

It is expected that about 2500 MT of L.vannamei shrimp worth over Rs.87 crore will be produced annually. Most of it will be meant for export. The project will generate employment and interest among the farmers of the area for better aquaculture practices.

Jagatjore–Banapada Shrimp Culture Project was implemented in the year 1992-93 in Mahakalpada Tahasil of Kendrapara District. The project was executed by the State Fisheries Department with loan assistance of Rs 25.23 crore from from World Bank.

The project was completed in the year 2000. In the project, 405 ponds, each having 0.5 hectare water area, were allotted to 405 beneficiaries of lower income group and 76 large ponds, each having one hectare area, were allotted to 11 of entrepreneurs.

Shrimp culture was taken up in the year 2001 and Rs 81.00 lakh were provided to the BPL beneficiaries as working capital. Only one crop was partially successful and after that the project became defunct. The entrepreneurs and the farmers sustained heavy losses and did not refund their sub-loan and the leases were cancelled.

Several suggestions were received from the Seafood Exporters’ Association for making use of the infrastructure developed under the project.

In the meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister in 2004, it was decided to sell out the project and a consultant was engaged for valuation of the assets. Subsequently, it was decided to go for long term lease of the project instead of outright sale.

The lease process was finalized by the Directorate of Fisheries with Falcon Marine Exports as per the decision after it became the highest bidder.

Odisha is the first State of the country to have adopted a comprehensive fishery policy in 2015 with an aim to double the fish production and achieve export earnings of Rs 10,000 crore within the next five years.

Besides, the State Government has notified the Brackish Water Land Leasing Policy to make available about 24,000 hectare of land in coastal area for brackish water aquaculture with an aim to change the economy of coastal area.

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