Srinagar, August 13: A fish sale centre at Ashajipora Anantnag is lying defunct despite spending lakhs of rupees on its construction.
Government established ‘Hygiene Fish Sale Centre’ at Ashajipora Anantnag on which around Rs 50 lakh was spent.
For the last two years, it was inaugurated twice by the authorities.
The centre was inaugurated first in August 2018 by the then Principal Secretary Fisheries Department Asgar Samoon and was to run under a centrally sponsored scheme.
“The sale centre was to remain open 24×7 and provide fresh fish to consumers. After a few days, it was closed for unknown reasons,” Bashir Ahmad, a local told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service.
In April 2020, the Director Fisheries Department again inaugurated the same fish sale centre. “It remained open only on the inauguration day,” Bashir said. After the inauguration, the authorities also removed the sign board. Residential quarter and office of Assistant Director Fisheries Department is behind the sale centre.
Mushatq Ahmad, another local said they have to go to Kokernag or Pahalgam to purchase fish. “We don’t understand for what purpose the fish sale centre was constructed,” he asked. “An enquiry should also be initiated as there are some reports there has been misappropriation of funds while constructing the sale centre,” he said.
Khurshid Ahmad Mir, a private fish farm holder said there are hundreds of people who are running their fish farms in Anantnag. “If government is not interested then we should be given a cold chain and we can sell our fish at this centre,” Mir said.
Government has declared Anantnag district as the trout fish district of India. Rainbow trout is cold water fish and should have temperatures between 0 to 20 degree Celsius. It is rich in protein and boosts immunity.
The Anantnag district also houses Asia’s largest fisheries farm in Kokernag area.
The farm is emerging best producer of Rainbow Trout fish across the world.
Assistant Director Fisheries Department Anantnag Shabir Ahmad admitted that the sale centre is lying defunct.
“We could not run this because of COVID-19 restrictions,” he told KINS.
Asked the sale centre is lying defunct since 2018, he replied, “There are lots of farms including private ones in the district. There is no shortage of trout fish. People can purchase anywhere,” he added.
On the alleged misappropriation of funds during construction of the sale centre, he said, “I recently took over here. People can file RTI and seek answers to all queries.”