Bhopal, Aug 23: Providing loan at five per cent interest to fish farmers, inclusion of Nishadraj Jayanti in the list of optional holidays, issuing of photo identity cards and extension of 'Janshree Bima Yojana' to all fishermen from the salient features of the Fisheries Policy of the Madhya Pradesh government.
The policy was announced by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at the fishermen's convention ' Machhua Mahapanchayat' held at Jabalpur yesterday, attended by about one lakh fishermen from across the state.
Benefits under the policy, apparently the first declared by any state, would be given only to the members of Machhua community of traditional fishermen. Earlier any person breeding or catching fish was considered a fisherman.
Mr Chouhan said 'Nishadraj Bhavans' would be constructed at every place predominant by Majhi-Machhua communities.
The state government has decided to use latest techniques in fishing with a view to increasing production, while fishermen would be given nets, boats, insulated boxes and other essential equipment. The government would sprinkle fish seeds in rivers free of cost so that fishermen can reap more benefits, he said.
Priority in granting fishing rights would be given to fishermen who had been displaced due to irrigation projects, he said, adding funds collected by leasing out ponds would be spent only for the welfare and development of traditional fishermen.
Under the new policy, the state government had abolished ten percent increase in lease amount every two years and made provision to write off total amount of lease rent for the year in case of natural calamities.
Fishermen would also be exempted from stamp duty on the pattas given to them for fishing. Earlier, only fishermen's cooperative societies were eligible for exemption from stamp duty.
Uniform pisciculture policy would be adopted for all reservoirs, while lease period had been increased from seven to ten years in irrigation reservoirs.
Patta amounts have also been reduced. It has been curtailed to Rs 300 for rural seasonal ponds, Rs 500 for 12-month ponds, Rs 200 per 10 to 50 hectares in irrigation reservoirs, Rs 150 and Rs 200 per 50 to 200 hectare in irrigation reservoirs and Rs 75 for reservoirs of 1000 hectare. Earlier Rs 1000 was charged for patta in rural ponds and Rs 240 per hectare per annum in irrigation reservoirs.