To uplift the rural economy in Bengal, the state fisheries department is giving an emphasis on the co-operative fish farming by engaging unemployed rural youth. The department has been developing a comprehensive development scheme to enhance fishery infrastructure.
The domestic demand of fish is highest in the state as almost all the people here eat fish. The state has a deficit in fish production and thus it has to import fishes from other states. The main purpose of the scheme was to make the state self sufficient in fish production which will also contribute in earning revenue by exporting excess fish to other states.
The scheme would be completed by a method called, People Participatory Programme (PPP) for the sustainable development of fisheries. The PPP will help in developing an operational method for the participation of local fishermen in fish production, storage and distribution. It also aimed at assisting the local fishermen to organise Self Help Groups and co-operatives in order to increase their income. They will be given access to the existing fishing ponds and fishery infrastructure.
To strengthen the scheme, the fisheries department has taken up initiatives to set up watersheds in the drought prone areas of various districts to boost up pisciculture and cultivation. In the drought prone areas of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore and some other districts, rain water is wasted. If the rain water is harnessed by small dams it can be used for pisciculture, cultivation and domestic use in the lean season.
Moreover, water stored in check dams also helps in reaching the ground water through bottom percolation in the subsurface. Watershed development thus plays an important role in uplifting the rural economy, increasing fish production, agricultural production, afforestation, water, soil and land management in drought prone areas. A watershed is defined as the land that contributes water to a given site.
It is a line that connects all the highest points in the area. It refers to the area from where the water to a particular drainage system, like a river or stream, comes from. A watershed provides a natural environmental unit for planning a developmental initiative.
The watershed mapping in the districts of Purulia and Bankura has been taken up to delineate watershed boundaries and to suggest the suitable sites for check dams for water harvesting in a pilot basis.
A digital map of water bodies was already created by the Fisheries department which will be able to create employment thereby uplifting the rural economy. The GIS based map of water bodies will help in managing e-governance in the fishery sector. Web based availability of GIS maps to the district fishery offices and fishery co-operatives will improve decision making process in a decentralised set up thereby creating a scenario of efficient management.