“Nobody can name us idlers now,” says Vimal Kishore Thakur as he proudly exhibits off his pond the place he farms fish. In his village of 60 households, discussions often revolve round fish — be it the brand new fast-breeding varieties such because the Amur from Bhubaneswar or the favourites like Rohu and Katla.
It was on this village, Shahzadpur in Samastipur district, that the Nitish Kumar authorities began a pilot challenge for fisheries again over a decade in the past. Now, it has become a nursery for potential fish farmers.
Thakur is one in all 4 farmers who initially helped sparked the fishery frenzy within the upper-caste Bhumihar village, additionally breaking a caste barrier alongside the best way — the career is related to Extraordinarily Backward Courses such because the Mallah or Nishad communities.
Thakur, together with Sunil Kumar, Kaushal Kishore Thakur and Chandrakant Thakur, dug up 19 ponds in part of an enormous stretch of low-lying flooded land in 2010. Underneath water for a lot of the yr, the 120-acre space would stay unirrigated, solely sometimes yielding paddy.
The state authorities began giving a 30 per cent subsidy (now 50 per cent) for digging one pond. Extra villagers dug up ponds and Shahzadapur turned a pilot challenge of the state authorities.
For a village as soon as caught with unproductive land and accused of getting “idlers”, the turnaround has been beautiful. Residents now cumulatively earn a median yearly revenue of Rs 3 crore, mentioned Thakur.
At current, 40 residents personal 60 ponds unfold over the 100 acres. Ten different ponds are arising. “We didn’t know this land may give us any return. The minimal revenue per acre is Rs 2 lakh. The village farmers cumulatively earn a revenue of about Rs 3 crore”, mentioned Thakur.
The Bihar Chief Minister has lengthy spoken about self-reliance in fish breeding. He visited the village in 2012 and spoke concerning the potential for fisheries within the state.
Kumar, one other one of many 4 residents who first took up the career, mentioned the true enhance got here when some village residents met Sushil Kumar Modi, the then Deputy Chief Minister and Fisheries Minister. Modi agreed to ship 4 Shahzadapur farmers together with 36 others to Andhra Pradesh for coaching in fisheries.
“The Bihar authorities had already despatched 26 batches of farmers for coaching in Andhra Pradesh. We had been the twenty seventh batch,” mentioned Kumar.
He additionally remembers a jibe from a senior officer within the Bihar fisheries division who mentioned they had been merely going to idle about in posh inns. “This damage us immensely. We returned to the village with a resolve to do one thing,” says Kumar as he exhibits this correspondent round his huge pond, teeming with fish.
The farmers get two fish varieties a yr— Rohu and Katla. Native fish sellers who used to rely upon Andhra Pradesh until a number of years in the past now solely purchase from the village.
The fish breeders of Shahzadpur are actually serving to begin fish farming different areas as nicely — 85 acres in Jhanjharpur (Madhubani), 15 acres in Hasanpur, 12 acres in Sarairanjan, 15 acres in Vidyapati Nagar (Samastipur) and 15 acres in Siwan.