The All Manipur Scientific Fish Farmers Association on Friday urged authorities concerned to create special packages for the fish farmers in Manipur as they are reeling under immense financial pressure amid the crisis to recuperate their investments in the fish farms and pay back bank loans.
“Let alone paying back loans, we are in a condition where we cannot even buy fish feed. So, we urge the government for a helping hand in this matter,” the association stated.
Speaking to the media at Manipur Press Club, association president Thokchom Premananda Meitei stated that fish feeds are imported from outside Manipur but due the conflict the highways have been blocked putting the farmers in desperate conditions.
As such, the availability has dropped and the prices have skyrocketed, he added.
On the other hand, he stated that the fish farmers in Manipur had taken out loans from various banks to invest in their respective fish farms which they are now unable to pay back because of the conflict.
“We invested all the amount on the farms but because of the current situation we are unable to make any returns on the investment. We are unable to maintain the farms and hence crippled to pay back the loans,” he said.
Therefore, he appealed to the state authorities to help out the fish farmers in this regard by sanctioning a special package for the fish farmers and extending the loan refund validity to three years.
“Various packages were created for agriculture and allied sectors excluding fish farming as such we humbly request the state government to create one for the fish farming community in Manipur so that we can repay our loans,” he said.
He maintained that the farmers under association had an accumulated loan amount of over Rs 5 crore and therefore urged authorities to create a special package and relieve the loan amounts.
Around Rs 38 crore were sanctioned for agriculture and its allied sectors, he added.
He stated that the association had submitted a memorandum to the chief minister regarding the matter.