Guwahati: The pandemic has severely hit several people across the globe, spanning various professional groups. Popular Assamese musician Bipin Chawdang chose pisciculture for survival amid the ongoing pandemic.
The 49-year-old artist who sings Assamese lyrics, especially Bihu songs, across Assam has earned significant recognition from individuals of all ages.
However, the prevailing situation of the pandemic has brought a gradual shrinkage in the lifestyle, educational and cultural phases of the people’s lives.
Chawdang is a father of a 16-year-old child. He stated that he was jobless for about two years because of the covid induced limitations from organizing cultural gatherings and public appearances continued.
“Then I started thinking about exploring ideas and discussed with my relatives and friends how to survive in a non-musical way”, said Chawdang.
“I had 12 bigha (1.6 hectare) of land which lay unutilized. As I have some background in agriculture, I thought I should take a chance in pisciculture,” the musician stated over the phone.
Foreseeing monetary and technical assistance, Chawdang proposed Assam’s Fishery Department as he discovered that he could receive financial aid (60% subsidy on a fishery-related project) under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
“I dug a pond on my 12 bigha land. I have spent about Rs 17 lakh, but so far, in two installments”, said Chawdang.
“The Fishery Department had affirmed me that I would be given the outstanding value of the subsidy. I have been anticipating the rest of the financial aid from the government for a long period. There are 6 to 7 species of fish in my pond.”
Chawdang and his wife is looking after the new initiative they have carried out for survival amid the pandemic.
“Bipin and his wife presently wish to make their pond an integrated fish spread and agro-tourism place. Their passion and commitment towards the fisheries sector are commendable,” stated Pratul Deka, Fisheries Development Officer.
Deka stated that, like Bipin and his wife, several skilled jobless youths have resorted to pisciculture as an effective means to eke out their living with proper support from the management.
“To present employment to youths throughout the pandemic phase, the Fisheries Department has started afresh scheme for supporting intensive aquaculture within biofloc technology,” Deka added.
The biofloc-based agriculture policy is a modern technology for developing intensive fish and shrimp stock in a small space.
A person with a little landholding (as small as 150-200 square meters of land) and a public piped water supply or borewell water supply can build this business with a small investment.
Assam Fishery Department Minister Parimal Suklabaidya announced the scheme with multiple takers would present resources to entrepreneurs, jobless youths, and enthusiastic fish producers and improve fish production in the state.