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Tuesday, Feb 26, 2002

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Plea to expedite aquaculture Bill

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THE Union Government should expedite the passage of the Aquaculture Authority Bill to pave the way for regulated, sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector, Mr V. Sobhanadreeswara Rao, the Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister, has said.

He was addressing a meeting of aqua experts, farmers and officials after inaugurating the three-day Indian Aquaculture Expo-2002 here on Monday morning.

The Minister said the Supreme Court judgement had dealt a blow to the sector and the Union Government, after obtaining a stay, had introduced the Aquaculture Authority Bill but it had not been passed though years had elapsed.

``It is not a desirable state of affairs and the bill should be passed with clear-cut rules and regulations and scientific guidelines for promoting the sector. Otherwise, it will grow haphazardly.''

Mr Sobhanadreeswara Rao said 75,000 hectares of land had been brought under aquaculture in the State. He said MPEDA should give all technical and financial support to these farmers rather than concentrating only on the processors and hatcheries.

He said the hatcheries in the State were not supplying quality, disease-free seed to the farmers and the latter were losing heavily on that count.

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