Minister for Fisheries Kota Srinivas Poojari has said that the State government is contemplating using around 1.20 lakh hectares of saline land for rearing fish.

Addressing presspersons after a review meeting here on Wednesday, he said that because of the excess use of water, 1.20 lakh hectares of land in the State has become saline. Therefore, the land is unfit for cultivation.

“We have been receiving proposals from many farmers and experts to convert such land for rearing fish,” he said.

Mr. Poojari made it clear that the proposal is only at a nascent stage as no final decision has been taken yet. He added that only after holding wider consultation with experts, the government will reach a conclusion.

He said that a project worth ₹ 3,500 crore is in the offing for the development of fisheries and welfare of the fishermen.

Admitting that inland fisheries is still too weak compared to sea fishing in the State where fishing is taken up in around 320 km of coastal area, the Minister said that emphasis is needed to be given to improve inland fisheries also.

On the demand of several fishermen to waive loan they have borrowed, the Minister did not give any commitment, stating that the financial condition of the State is not conducive because of the prolonged lockdown.

On the demand for upgrading the Fisheries Research Centre located at Bhutanal tank area here and establishing a diploma college for fisheries, Mr. Poojari said that he would look into it.

About using the only government-run aquarium for selling ornamental fish at subsidised rate here, Mr. Poojari said that he would send officials to conduct a survey and submit a report before taking any action.

Earlier, he said that the Union government has decided to extend Kisan Card even to fishermen where they would be given loan up to ₹ 3 lakh at 3 % rate of interest. He said that the loan would help fishermen to buy equipment for fishing.

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