A fish pond in Lailad belonging to the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), which was renovated at a cost of Rs 25 lakh, generated a measly Rs 7,500 in revenue in 2018-19, it was revealed in the council today.
This was informed by Mitchel Wankhar, the Executive Member in charge of the Fisheries Department, in response to a query by opposition MDC, Bajop Pyngrope on the second day of the KHADC’s budget session here.
Members of the opposition opined that if such a scenario persists and this matter cannot be rectified then it would be better to do away with the pond. Pyngrope pointed out that at the rate it was going, it would take stated it would take the council hundreds of years to recoup the amount of money spent in setting up the pond.
Over the years the pond has been used more for MDCs’ “recreational activities” rather than revenue generation, Wankhar said. It was only after he assumed charge in 2019 that fishing was banned, he added.
Citing other examples of failings from before his time in charge, Wankhar also stated that 80 kilogrammes of fingerlings were deposited in the pond in 2018 but all that remained when it came time to harvest them were 12 underfed fish. This was the case despite four staff being appointed to maintain and take care of the pond. This cost Rs 18 lakh per year.
Informing that Tripura and Assam are producing impressive volumes of fish, which is also supplied to Meghalaya, the EM said that in 2019 a delegation led by KHADC Chairman Pyniaid Sing Syiem met Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Union Minister of State of Fisheries, where the council submitted a proposal of Rs 84 crore to develop fishery activities within the areas under KHADC jurisdiction.
However, before this proposal could materialize, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and now they have to follow up the matter again.
Wankhar further informed that the Fisheries Department is headed by a fishery supervisor who is qualified in pisciculture but the department does not have a fishery officer.