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Odisha to Spend $4 Million on Lake Chilka Development

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INDIA - In order to develop lake Chilka for fishermens benefit, Odisha state will spend $4 million (Rs 26.74 crore) during the fiscal year.

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The budget provision was approved by the chief minister, Naveen Patnaik , who chaired the 13th governing body meeting of Chilka Development Authority (CDA) held at the Secretariat recently.

Ensuring the interests of the fishing community is a priority of the state government. Fish production in Chilika has increased after its revamp, Patnaik said.

The minister also urged CDA to take adequate steps to strengthen various primary cooperative societies meant for fishermen and also asked the official to find out ways on how to market fish from Chilka in the state and across the country.

The minister further directed the forest and environment department and CDA to form a committee for carrying out sustainable and long-term programmes at Chilika for ensuring livelihood of the fishermen community and promoting tourism.

The body also approved the spending of $172,000 on the Integrated Lake Basin Management Project, as well as $400,000 on preparing a master plan to develop tourist facilities at Chilika Lake and nearby places.

The board also approved the proposal for establishing a Ramsar Regional Centre for South Asia, a proposal given by Switzerland-based Ramsar Convention Secretariat to include Chilika as a key place for conserving wetlands in South Asia.

Under the proposal, a regional center will be developed and would make the lagoon a hub of capacity building for wetland managers of South Asia.

Patnaik said that Chilika warrants science-based management supported by cutting edge research and to achieve this, the WRTC at Barkul has to be developed into a state-of-the-art research laboratory and it is planned to make provision of necessary funds and manpower to achieve this.

Apart from this, Patnaik also said steps are being taken to empower primary fishermen cooperative societies (PFCSs).

The state had already provided share capital to the tune of $1 million as soft loan to PFCS members. Besides, as many as 5,600 insulated iceboxes were supplied to the societies for preservation of fish quality.