Solar fish-drying project in Gopalpur eclipsed by government apathy

Berhampur: The solar fish-drying project for dry fish (Sukhua) production in Gopalur is lying defunct amid abject government apathy. The project which was launched in 2014 with an aim to provide sustainable livelihood to fisherwomen self help groups has failed to take off and have left the equipment rusting under neglect of the local administration.

According to sources, the solar dryer project in Gopalpur was built at an overall cost of Rs 3.5 crore to help local fisherwomen produce dry fish. The project was started as a part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plan in 2014 to produce dry fish using solar energy. However, the administration, after providing necessary training and equipment, left the project hanging out in dry.

“We were given necessary training and promised other support. Each of the 50 women members was also given Rs 50,000 to purchase equipment. However, we are not being able to use the equipment as the solar unit is not operational. They are neither operating the equipment nor allowing us to operate,” said Parvati, a fisherwoman.
Moreover, the member fisherwomen are also demanding a boundary wall around the project to prevent theft of the final product.

B Gajamma, chief of fisherwomen association said “We tried to do dry fish business for the first two years but had to close down after losses. We got Rs 50,000 to buy equipments which are rusting now after being left unused.”

The Additional Fisheries Officer (Marine) was not available for comments in this regard.