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Rural Telangana casts net wide to help fishermen rake in rich moolah

A fisherman casts net wide to catch fish in Pakhal Lake in Warangal rural district on Thursday 	Photo: Gokarpu Shyam Kumar
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A fisherman casts net wide to catch fish in Pakhal Lake in Warangal rural district on Thursday Photo: Gokarpu Shyam Kumar
Highlights

  • Villagers had fish to their fill while Hyderabadis squirmed in lockdown
  • Villagers avoided chicken due to fear of Covid-19 but turned to fish that was easily available in their villages
  • Therefore, the fishermen did brisk business while the chicken traders starved

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Hyderabad: While the Hyderabadis found it difficult to get fish during the entire lockdown, the people living in rural areas of the State ate them to their fill.

According to villagers, due to fear of Covid-19 they avoided chicken and mutton, but turned to fish that was easily available in their villages

Therefore, the fishermen did brisk business while the chicken traders starved. With transportation of fish was completely affected, even 30 to 40 % of which generally shipped to Kolkata was consumed, helping the fishermen reap good profits during the period.

According to officials, for some 5 lakh fishermen of the State it was business as usual during the entire lockdown as the Fisheries department and Federation ensured that the consumers visiting the sale point near water bodies maintain 'social distance'.

"The pattern of consumption changed during the lockdown, as people's preferences changed vis-à-vis meat products."

"As fishermen harvested the produce in front of the customer, the idea could bring down the fear of consuming meat product," said V Srinivas, Deputy Director of Fisheries Department

Another factor which played as a discouraging factor in Hyderabad was declaration of city's biggest fish market at Musheerabad as Covid-19 hotspot, which not only affected the business but also increased apprehensions amongst people about fish consumption.

During the initial days it was completely shutdown, later only weekly three days the permission was granted that too for wholesalers during pre-dawn 3 hours.

As per the available data, the year (2019-20) witnessed maximum stocking of fish seeds compared to earlier years after formation of Telangana.

Some 15,715 water bodies, including reservoirs were stocked with more than 64 cr fish seeds at the cost of 46.63 cr. While stocking of prawn (juveniles) took place at 70 water bodies with an investment of 6.39 cr.

"With the help of social media like Whatsapp we kept tabs during the period to find if any of the fishermen was affected during the lockdown. It was like market at every water body, where tight norms of social distancing were observed, sometimes, with the help of police."

"Queues at wine shop were for only one day, but here daily there was queue at each of the sale point near water body," he added.

Rahu, katla (South Asian carp) and (common carp) were the most common catch which fetched good dividends to fishermen, who tried a different strategy this time and they remained busy throughout the lockdown period, selling their catch almost every day.

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