Amaravati, Nov 20 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to give a major push to the fisheries sector by improving infrastructure and technology for inland and marine fisheries and aquaculture to raise production.The state government, which will be unveiling its mega plans on World Fisheries Day on Thursday, proposes to develop fishing harbours and jetties for hygienic landing of marine catch, tap deep sea fishery resources, dredge river mouths for easier passage of vessels, and promote marine cage farming and implement fishermen welfare schemes, among others, officials said on Wednesday.Andhra Pradesh is already the largest producer of fish and prawns in the country and contributes 40 per cent of India's total marine exports value. Fisheries contribute 7.4 per cent to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and provide employment opportunities to 14.5 lakh people.The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government feels that over the past few years marine and inland fisheries in the state suffered due to lack of sustained attention by the earlier governments as well as factors such as dwindling catch, no value addition and processing, increased pollution and climate change, lack of diversification of species and diseases."The previous Telegu Desam Party-led government had given permission to set up pharma companies in the hatchery zones in East Godavari District, which are polluting the sea in that zone. In our action plan, once an area is declared as a hatchery zone, no other industries will be given permission in that area," said Fisheries Minister Mopidevi Venkatramana Rao.The government has allocated Rs 100 crores to develop three new fishing harbours at Vodarevu (Prakasam district), Uppada (East Godavari) and Juvvaladinne (Nellore) and strengthen the existing harbours in Nizampatnam (Guntur) and Machilipatnam (Krishna). It will also develop fish landing centres (FLCs) at Manchinillapeta, Rallapeta (Srikakulum) and Biyyaputippa (West Godavari) and a mini jetty at Chintapalli (Vijayanagaram).The government increased the budget for the Fisheries Department from Rs 386 crores during 2018-19 to Rs 551 crores during 2019-20. It also proposes to spend Rs 56.53 crores to set up 46 integrated aqua labs for use of tested and quality inputs for aquaculture.The government has also provided Rs 78.24 crores as compensation to 16,559 fishermen affected by the dispute with Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), doubled ex gratia to deceased fishermen's families from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs, reduced power tariff, and increased diesel subsidy to Rs 9 per litre from Rs 6.03 per litre.
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