Motorcycles with ice boxes will soon give fishermen from rural parts of Maharashtra better access to city consumers.
As part of the Centre’s Blue Revolution schemes, the new strategy appears to have struck a chord with the state’s fishing communities, officials said. These motorcycles will be useful in bringing fish to the consumers, either at the local fish markets or the consumers’ doorstep.
According to official data, applications began coming in since March this year and so far, the state fisheries department has received 118 entries from people who wish to carry out mobile fish sales on bikes. “Earlier this week, we submitted the applications for the ice-box motorcycle scheme to Mantralaya, which will forward those to the Centre for sanction. The numbers are high and unanticipated,” said a senior fisheries department official.
Official data reveal that of the 118 applications received between March and April 2017, the highest applications have been from Latur with 37 proposals. There are 15 and 10 applications from Satara and Aurangabad, respectively, followed by Nagpur, Parbhani, Kohlapur, Wardha, Jalgaon and Hingoli.
“Latur district lies in the Godavari river basin, where much of the water used in the district comes from the Manjra river. Hence, we believe that the locals are trying to cash in on the fish they find. Cold storage is the main problem here and the scheme would enable a quicker consumption cycle for the local people,” the senior fisheries department official added.
The “ice-boxes on motorcycles” scheme offers a 50 per cent subsidy to the fish vendors for purchasing any of these vehicles. The earnings for the fishermen are also split with the Centre and not the state government. There are also concepts of ice boxes in auto-rickshaws that the government plans to launch soon. “Under the Blue Revolution scheme, the assistance for fish transport infrastructure is a key to improving the state’s fisheries status,” said Rajendra Jadhav, joint commissioner of state fisheries.
The Blue Revolution was launched with an aim to create an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries in the country and to improve the socio-economic conditions of fisherfolk and fish farmers.