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Fish culture comes to the rescue of dying water bodies

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 Ruhi Bhasin | New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2012 12:50:17 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. Delhi government’s ambitious plan to allow fish culture in water bodies is finally taking off.

According to officials,around 24 water bodies in Northwest Delhi have been identified for the purpose. These ponds will be auctioned after the monsoon. The water bodies will be used to promote fish culture,fishing,production of fish and fish seeds (fertilised fish eggs).

The water bodies have been identified in villages such as Auchandi,Boodhanpur Majra,Bawana,Qutub Garh,Khera Kalan,Naya Bhans,Ibrahimpur,Karala,etc. These ponds have an area of about 1 acre to 3.5 acres each. “We plan to auction ponds in Northwest Delhi after monsoon. A proper survey was done to ensure that these ponds were fit for fish culture. A committee has also been formed to auction off these ponds. Either it will be an open auction or sealed bids will be invited,’’ said a senior government official.

The committee comprises deputy commissioners of respective districts,director of animal husbandry unit (Development department),a fish culture expert,a water quality expert of Delhi Pollution Control Committee,area deputy conservator of forests,director (Panchayat) and divisional commissioner.

A total of 477 water bodies were initially identified across the city for the fish culture project. The project will be implemented in other water bodies depending on how successful it is in the ponds in Northwest Delhi,said officials.

Officials said the move is aimed at creating a means of livelihood for villagers,ensuring proper maintenance of ponds and also preventing encroachment on groundwater recharge structures. The Revenue department,which owns the 24 water bodies,said fish culture was part of a series of projects to be taken up for restoring water bodies. The move follows a Delhi High Court directive,in 2000,to augment Delhi’s groundwater sources.

The Forest department and Horticulture unit of Development department will have the task of ensuring sufficient greenery around the water bodies. The greenery is essential to ensure that there is enough oxygen and plankton for fish to feed on. The Delhi Jal Board will have to ensure that there is no sewage flow into these ponds from adjoining villages,said officials. This project has got the approval from the L-G’s office.

“Once the ponds are auctioned,the licensee will be authorised to use the water bodies only for fish culture,fishing,production of fish and fish seeds of culturable varieties. Culture of African magur (Clarias gariepinus) is prohibited,as they are carnivorous and will feed on other fish varieties,’’ said an official.

“The bidder will have to deposit an amount of Rs 10,000 or 5 per cent of the estimated value — whichever is higher — as earnest money. As per the guidelines,fishing can be done by net or rod and line only. Precaution should be taken for timely removal of weeds,maintenance of water pH,optimum nutrition to fish and that fish is caught without resorting to blasts or use of chemicals,’’ said the official.

The licence will be issued for a year and the fish farmer cannot prevent domestic animals from drinking water from of the pond. 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.

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