Kendrapara, Sept 11 (LocalWire): Many seaside villagers of Hariabanka village in Mahakalapada block opposed the mushrooming of illegal prawn farms in the villages.
The villagers alleged that the unchecked growth of illegal prawn farms was rendering fertile farmlands useless in Hariabanka, Batighar, Baulakani and other villages, especially due to the release of untreated effluents from the farms into the nearby agricultural lands.
“Prawn farms dump effluents of the prawn gherries in nearby rivers, ponds and agricultural land, which contributes to the pollution of these resources as well as the groundwater.
We have urged the district administration many times to dismantle the illegal farms.
However, the officials do not pay heed to our pleas,” said Sabita Mandal of Hariabanka.
“Our villages were famous as the rice bowl of the district as few years ago.
Now, the area looks like a small island in the middle of the vast prawn farms covering an area of around 400 acres,” said Sagar Das of Hariabanka.
“I used to plant paddy in my fields, but now it has become impossible after a prawn farm owner began releasing effluents into my lands.
This has turned my fertile land barren,” said Jagannath Manna of Hariabanka.
“Farmers cultivating shrimp without registering with the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) are liable to be imprisoned for three years and levied a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh.
It is mandatory for all shrimp farms to be registered under the provisions of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act (CAA) and Rules, 2005.
The CAA requires registration of all shrimp farms lying on either side of rivers, creeks, canals etc.
up to a distance of 5 km from high tide level. Unregistered shrimp farms are liable for demolition,” said Mamata Mohapatra, the district fisheries officer of Kendrapara.