Fishing as an alternative livelihood

Fishing as an alternative livelihood

Fish farming becoming popular among Bandipora youth

Tauseef Ahmad

BANDIPORA, Aug 20: In North Kashmir’s Bandipora district scores of farmers, especially the youth, are turning to fish farming to earn their livelihood in a dignified manner. Fish farming in this district is fast becoming an alternative source of occupation for unemployed youth who couldn’t find government jobs.

Trout fish farming is now being adopted as a full time occupation in Border areas and other villages in Bandipora district fetching hefty amounts even to the budding entrepreneurs.

Abdul  Rehaman Ganie (35) and Rustum Ganie from Bangalore village of Gurez valley, around one kilometer from LOC  are examples of  few fish farmers who were searching for a government job till they found an opportunity to start a trout fish farm in their village.

After earning a reasonable profit, Ganaie established two more fish farms in his village. “Being jobless would haunt me and then one day I came across an official who informed me about financial schemes being run by the Fisheries Department for unemployed youth to make them financially independent,” another farmer from Purana Tulail of Gurez told Kashmir Despatch.

“I approached the Fisheries Department in Dawar Gurez in 2020 where I was provided financial assistance of Rs 70,000 for construction of a fish farm. Besides this I was provided seed and feed by the department concerned which paved the way for my success in fish rearing,” Abdul Aziz Wani observed while talking to Kashmir Despatch.

Similarly in Sumlar village of Bandipora around five farmers are associated in trout fish farming. Talking to Kashmir Dispatch one of the farmers Abdul Basit said: “I was looking for a government job earlier but there were disappointments only so I sought help from the fisheries department and they helped me. I received a subsidy from the department and started this work. Now my family is also happy with my venture,” he told Kashmir Despatch.

He presently owns two trout fish farms in his village Sumlar Bandipora. The trout farm gets water from local stream Sumlar which is believed to be the best for trout rearing in the area.

Basit expects trout production worth around Rs 15 lakhs this year.  He said that the convenient saleable weight for trout is considered to be in between 300 to 350 gms and if reared properly it can gain the said weight within eight months.

“I want to give the message to unemployed youths who are seeking a government job and who are sitting idle in their homes. They can apply for this scheme and they can take benefit from this scheme and run their business successfully not only to make themselves financially independent but they can generate jobs for others too,” Abdul Aziz Wani told Kashmir Despatch.

Giving details a senior fisheries officer of Gurez Abdul Rehman said that the department is providing subsidy for constructing a fish farm and provides free seed and feed for the first year of farming. “The aim of providing such facilities is to provide a chance of earning a dignified livelihood for the youth who are seeking jobs elsewhere.”

He said: “This business can be without any hassles and I am sure that if the youth show dedication they can earn their livelihood while sitting in their border villages.” The farmers who have benefited from fishing schemes hailed the steps taken by the central government and fisheries department of Jammu Kashmir (UT).

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