Paradip: The abrupt closure of a breeding centre located inside the state’s only brackish water training facility at Nehru Bungalow here has affected the teaching programme for aspiring prawn farmers, sources said Monday.
The brackish water training centre imparts education on fish cultivation in saline water to pisciculture students, traditional fishermen and newly- appointed contractual workers of the Fisheries department. The programmes teach them to become self-reliant by undertaking fish cultivation under government-sponsored schemes. It also imparts training on coastal erosion and on conservation of fingerlings.
The breeding centre was developed to specifically impart knowledge on various aspects of prawn cultivation and conservation of hatchlings. It also undertook cultivation of mother prawns that were released in large tanks filled with saline water and the spawns would come out within a week.
The spawns grew within 10-12 days and were sold for Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per kilogram to interested prawn farmers for cultivation. They were also sold to traditional fishermen for cultivation at subsidised rates as fixed by the Odisha government, said Subhash Chandra Sethi, the head of the saline water research centre.
The Odisha government renovated the brackish water training centre in 2020 but forgot to do the same for the prawn breeding facility. Now it wears a dilapidated look as it has been lying defunct for a long time.
It now looks like a haunted house with thick foliages growing over it. As a result, the fishing boat, water tank, saline water pond and an ice factory which were earlier visible from afar have now become blurred due to heavy growth of foliages.
Thirty official quarters for staff have also suffered due to lack of maintenance. Some of these buildings have been taken over by encroachers. They have started leaving in these quarters are carrying out renovation work.
When contacted, district Fisheries officer Deepti Kumar Mohapatra said the demand for prawn cultivation here went down after the arrival white-coloured prawns in the market.
“Senior officials had recommended to the government for closure of the prawn breeding centre. However, with the passage of time, the demand for the type of prawn cultivated here has grown again. Letters have been written to higher-ups for the revival of the centre. Now, let’s see what happens,” added Mohapatra.