Meghalaya Govt Peon Builds Fish Ponds With His Hands! Find Out!
As a young child, Rithson R Marak got interested in fish farming after seeing his father feed the fish after long days in his field, in Meghalaya?s Nengmandalgre village.
Years later, when he was working as a peon in the state Education Department, he realized its potential and began constructing a fish pond measuring around 0.3 hectares in 1983 to supplement his income.
With just his hands and a few implements, he painstakingly built the fish pond over the course of three years. By 1986, he began fish farming, becoming the first person in his village to take it up.
Today, Rithson, who retired last year from government service after working as a peon in the state Education Department, has three fish farms measuring a cumulative 0.6 hectares.
Assisting him are initiatives like the state-sponsored Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) and Blue Revolution. Under MSAM, there are various schemes that enable local fish farmers to construct new ponds, fish sanctuaries, enhance their value chain and build infrastructure that includes fish feed mills, FRP Hatcheries, eco-hatcheries, etc.
Rithson has immensely benefited from various schemes under MSAM. Aside from fine-tuning his knowledge of fish farming with the latest techniques, the fisheries department also gave him resources to construct another 0.1-hectare pond, besides offering assistance in recent years for procuring feed and other equipment.
Thanks to these initiatives, from selling 300-400 kg of fish in a year, his yield has gone well beyond 500. He also learned about what type of fish to rear and added two new varieties to his list.
?If we had more people like him, we would have already achieved our target to become self-sufficient in fish production,? says East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Swapnil Tembe.
Rithson sells his fish for anywhere between Rs 200-225 per kg in Nengmandalgre, but in the local Williamnagar market, that price is raised to Rs 250. In a given year, Rithson earns anywhere between Rs 1-1.5 lakh or more depending on the yield.