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Personal Quest Produces Pengba revival

INDIA - The Pengba variety of fish, which was on the verge of totally disappearing from Manipur a few years ago, is now getting a fresh lease of life.

The sole credit for re-generating this endangered indigenous fish species goes to Soibam Dhanabir of Ningombam for he succeeded where the State Government had failed.

Earlier the State Government made several efforts to regenerate the fish species (pictured right), but failed.

Speaking at a Pengba Day celebration in Ningombam today, Soibam Dhanabir said that in addition to its superior taste, Pengba contains Omega-3 fatty acid which is highly beneficial to health.

Though once feared that Pengba might get extinct from the State, there is no cause for such worry now, claimed Dhanabir.

The Pengba Day celebration jointly organised by New Zen Aquaculture Farm and Radiance Socio-Economic Development Organisation was attended by Fisheries Minister Md Allaudin Khan, Imphal West Zilla Parishad Adhyaksha S Subashchandra, Fisheries Director K Saratkumar, Modern College lecturer Dr T Brojen and social worker L Tarpan as presidium members.

Acknowledging that the State Government had failed in its efforts to regenerate Pengba by producing its fingerlings, Fisheries Director Saratkumar, he informed that two State run farms will start producing Pengba fingerlings from next year.

Stating that efforts are being put in to take up some projects with the objective to regenerate Pengba and other indigenous fish species facing extinction, Saratkumar informed that arrangements have been made to preserve germ plasm of Pengba so as to produce Pengba-like fish species by injecting it to fishes with similar features as Pengba in case the original species disappear.

Production aided scheme

Hailing the efforts of Dhanabir, Rural Development, MOBC and Fisheries Minister Allaudin Khan noted that following the successful initiative of Dhanabir to reproduce Pengba, more than 30 fish farms are now rearing Pengba.

Pengba has already been declared the State fish of Manipur and plans were already in place to producer free Pengba finger-lings for farmers in two exclusive State run farms. During this year, the Fisheries Department is planning to provide fingerlings of Pengba, Rou and Catla varieties collected from Dhanabir’s farm.

Each farmer will be provided fingerlings worth Rs 7,500 each, said Allaudin Khan. In addition to the fingerlings, the fish farmers will be provided Rs 1500 each to purchase fish feeds, Said Minister Allaudin Khan .

Observing that the Fisheries Department could neither help fish farmers much nor take up any substantial fishery development programmes in the State because of meagre allotted to the Department, the Minister mentioned that many beneficiaries selected for fish farming are not properly taking up the vocation.

He said that some beneficiaries instead of taking fingerlings worth Rs 7,500 provided to them by the Government, they came back with just Rs 3000 in cash without the finger-lings.

He further appealed not to entertain any monetary demand in place of fingerlings this year for which Dhanabir has been entrusted to supply finger-lings.

He disclosed that only Rs 2.5 crores was allotted to Fisheries Department this year out of which only Rs 25 lakhs was left with the Department to take up development projects after deducting the amount required for payment of salaries to its employees.

Nevertheless, he exuded confidence that the budgetary allocation for Fisheries Department will be increased by Rs 10 to 15 crores in next fiscal year.