In a bid to conserve water-bodies, mainly ponds, in the city, which total 3,500 approximately, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is taking initiatives to encourage pisciculture in the city ponds for which the state fisheries department will give the necessary training to interested persons. The effort is also intended to generate employment.

The KMC has long been struggling for conserving water-bodies, mainly ponds, in the city that are fast falling prey to the real estate business, with promoters, allegedly filling them up to pave way for construction.

The KMC, however, seems to have found a way to conserve the ponds and at the same time, generate employment.

Speaking on this, Mr Swapan Samaddar, member mayor-in-council (MMIC), environment, said “KMC is already carrying out cleaning of ponds in the city. In addition, for conservation and to protect the ponds in the city, we are taking initiatives to introduce pisciculture in these water-bodies. For this, we are collaborating with the state fisheries department that will impart training to any persons interested in it. We are encouraging all those interested to come forward and we will extend all cooperation in this regard.”

The MMIC added: “This will not only help in conservation of the ponds but we believe, it will also generate employment, especially for the unemployed youths. We had also floated around 75 tenders, earlier, but we did not get any participators then. It is also because, at present, there is not much awareness among people concerning the idea but we are hopeful that gradually it will interest people, and eventually it will have a positive environmental impact. At present, we are relaxing the terms of the tender and referring it to the Borough committees who can then float the same in their respective boroughs for persons interested in pisciculture.”

Meanwhile, the state urban development and municipal affairs minister, Firhad Hakim, who is also the KMC mayor, reiterated that “protection of water-bodies is vital.”

Talking on the action that can be taken against anyone who attempts to fill up a pond, Mr Hakim said “Earlier, filling up of waterbodies was rampant, especially in the added areas in the city. There are around 3500 water bodies in the city, out of which 345 are under direct management of the KMC.” “To ensure protection, cases will be filed as per ‘person responsible’ basis. If we receive any information regarding filling up of waterbodies, a complaint will be lodged with the Officer-in-Charge of the local police station in that area, as per the clauses in the Fisheries Act which can put the offender in jail for seven years.” said Mr Hakim.