The nine-acre village tank, Narasimhuni Sagaram at Gangannapadu village of Terlam mandal in Vizianagaram district is located adjacent to the major district road. It is a source of irrigation in over 27 acres in the area where people mostly cultivate paddy and pulses. MGNREGS functionaries have been organizing awareness camps on additional livelihoods that can be generated such as fish farming.
Headed by Gram Panchayat president, Gangannapadu villagers agreed to use the tank for fish farming thus benefitting the village. Works were sanctioned to de-silt and deepen the tank under MGNREGS. Thereafter, 5,000 fish seeds were released into the tank during June-July. The villagers were advised to begin selling the fish only after March-April by when the fish would have grown upto 2-3 kgs and be ready for consumption. The tank with the fish was handed over to 25 Scheduled Castes families for maintenance. Subsequently, few other families too were given responsibility to guard the tank and sell the fish. De-silting also increased the water storage capacity that proved beneficial for farmers.
The fish caught in March-April is sold in Gajapathinagarm in Vizianagaram district and the neighbouring Cuttak market in Odisha. The live fish is sold at Rs 80 a kilo in the local market and at Rs 80 to Rs 100 a kilo outside. As the fish are grown in a healthy environment and fed with feed containing high protein values, they have high demand. Thus, this MGNREGS intervention helped in converting the irrigation tank into a stable income source for many villagers including those who do not have land to cultivate. The Gram Panchayat is now able to take up more developmental works in the village with the revenue and the living standards of the families have improved considerably.
VOICES FROM THE FIELD
“The tank which has been providing only irrigation water for all these years is now a source of revenue for the gram panchayat. The tank and the fish are auctioned every year and generates revenue for the panchayat. It is also helping the families dependent on it to earn money by selling live fish in the market” – Ramappa