To breathe life into waterbodies,Delhi govt turns to fish culture

As dismal as their condition has been,the ponds in Delhi could soon get a new lease of life — in the form of fish culture.

Written by Geeta Gupta | New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2012 3:59 am

As dismal as their condition has been,the ponds in Delhi could soon get a new lease of life — in the form of fish culture. The Delhi Cabinet on Wednesday decided to promote fish culture in the rural waterbodies of the Capital.

The government said the move is aimed at creating livelihood for people living in villages,and also overcoming the problem of encroachment on groundwater recharge structures.

The Revenue department,which owns the 24 waterbodies chosen for aqua culture,said fish culture was part of a series of projects taken up for restoring waterbodies. The moves follows a Delhi High Court directive,in 2000,to augment Delhi’s groundwater sources.

“The primary aim is to preserve the dying waterbodies in an ecologically compliant way. While doing this, the fish culture will also help local people generate revenue,” Vijay Dev,Secretary (Revenue),told Newsline .

Under a 1957 notification,all waterbodies in the villages of Delhi are a property of the Gram Sabhas. Also,the 1954 Delhi Land Reforms Act makes it mandatory for the Gram Panchayats to promote activities such as poultry farming and fishery.

“The Fisheries Unit of the Development department has identified 24 water bodies in Northwest district,where fishing can be introduced. The Cabinet has decided to auction these waterbodies for fishing activities on approved terms and conditions,” Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said after a Cabinet meeting.

As per the plan,these waterbodies would be leased to private entrepreneurs,while remaining the property of the Gram Sabha,and preference would be given to local fishermen. According to the terms and conditions,the ponds would be utilised only for fish and fish seed of cultureable varieties,and the waterbody would not be further handed over to anybody. No modification in the existing structure of the waterbody would be made,and any activity not in conformity with the existing/future laws of environment would not be permitted.

“All the waterbodies chosen for fishery are located in villages like Narela and Bawana. The plan will also help local residents earn a livelihood,” he said.

An inter-departmental monitoring committee has also been formed by the government — with experts from departments like fisheries,environment and forest,irrigation and flood control — for a regular inspection of these waterbodies.

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