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State to enact law to keep Chilika pollution free

Bhubaneswar: Encouraged over the increase in the fish production in Chilika Lake, state government on Monday said it would soon bring a new legislation to check pollution in the lagoon by curbing prawn cultivation and other activities.

The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting presided by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.

"We are taking certain steps to ensure that the environment of the lagoon remains pollution free," Patnaik said adding that the fishermen of Chilika undertook a fish trade worth Rs 143 crore in 2011-12.

The communities engaged in fishing in Chilika Lake this time produced 14,220 metric ton of fish, an official release said adding that the high yielding of fishes could be achieved due to less pollution in the lagoon.

Prawn cultivation used to destroy environment in the lake, the experts attending the meeting pointed. "The chief minister has suggested to expedite preparation of the proposed bill," a senior official said.

While the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) had already engaged two excavators to demolish illegal prawn ponds in the lagoon, eight such machines would be procured to expedite removal of illegal prawn ponds.

In a bid to help the fishing community, the chief minister also asked the authorities to provide financial assistance to primary cooperative societies of fishing communities. While Rs 2 crore was given to 16 primary cooperative societies earlier, Patnaik asked officials to earmark Rs 4 crore to be distributed among 40 such societies.

This apart, it was also decided that 3500 highly efficient insulated ice-boxes to be distributed among the the communities, said CDA chief Ajit Kumar Patnaik adding that plans were also made for developing fishing jetties in the lake in order to boost export of the fish products.

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