Delhi’s ponds could soon get a new lease of life — in the form of pisciculture. The Delhi government has identified 24 water bodies for fish breeding and rearing.
A senior government official said the move is aimed at creating livelihood for people living in villages and overcoming the problem of encroachment on groundwater recharge bodies.
The Revenue department, which owns the 24 water bodies chosen for aquaculture, said the pisciculture project was part of a series of proposals being planned for reviving the capital’s water bodies. The move is in line with a Delhi High Court directive to augment Delhi’s groundwater sources.
Under a 1957 notification, all water bodies in the villages of Delhi are properties of gram sabhas. Also, the 1954 Delhi Land Reforms Act makes it mandatory for gram panchayats to promote activities such as poultry farming and fishery. According to data, the Delhi government’s fisheries unit has produced 18.25 lakh fish seeds and 680 metric tonnes of fish this year.
At present, the fisheries unit has 15 nursery ponds covering a total water area of about 2 acres, where it breeds fish. The unit also leases out portions of the water bodies for fishing every year under rules and regulations laid down in the Indian Fisheries Act 1897 and Fisheries Act 1914.
Under the new initiative, the 24 water bodies would be leased to private entities, while their ownership would remain with the gram sabhas. Preference would be given to local fishermen for fish-breeding activities. According to the terms and conditions, the ponds would be used only for fish rearing and seed breeding, and the water bodies would not be handed over to anybody further. No modification in the existing structure of the water body would be made and any activity not in conformity with the existing/future laws of environment would not be permitted.
“All the water bodies chosen for fishery are located in villages like Narela and Bawana. The plan will help local residents earn a livelihood,” an official said.