Pothashang News Service
Imphal, October 20: A grand fish fare cum fish crop competition was held today by fishery department of Manipur at Hapta Kanjeibung, Palace Compound, on the eve of the state’s biggest traditional festival, “Ningol Chakouba”.
In Ningol Chakouba, married women are invited to their parental home to lunch with fish as the main menu. Blessings are showered with gifts to the sisters by their brothers and parents on this day. It is the festival that tightens the brother-sister bond.
Varieties of fish, including different types of locally-available and almost extinct fish, were displayed by the farmers from all districts. The main attractions were fish like pengba, khabak and ngaton.
Depending on size, the price range of katla, rohu and mirgal varied between Rs 180 and Rs 300 per kg. Grass carp costs between Rs 180 and Rs 200 a kg. The price of a silver carp was between Rs 150 and Rs 180 and that of common carp was between Rs170 and Rs 200. The price of pengba and khabak is between Rs 600 and 700 per kg. A kilo of ngaton costs Rs 500.
Other fish varieties known to people as big head and bao were also available at the fair.
“We are happy that we can serve with delicious pengba and ngaton made available in plenty at affordable rates,” said a buyer.
Altogether 59 fish stalls were opened at the fair. Above the provided stalls about 30 fish mongers opened sales inside the fair complex.
Ningthoujam Sarat, a fish farmer from Kha Sanjenbam, Bishnupur district, said, “This time I have brought only Pengba of just 150 kg. Last year I sold about 500 kg, but this year I have incurred huge loss due to the recent mass flood in the state.”
Sarat was the winner of the crop competition for producing the indigenous state fish, Pengba in 2008.
“We have been waiting for this day as the government encourage us according to our contribution in the Ningol Chaouba fair”, said Sarat.
Governor, Najma A. Heptulla wished the people that the festival would reinforce the fraternal and protective bond that exists between brothers and sisters.
Chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh in his greetings for Ningol Chakouba said, though the festival is originally observed by the Meitei community the celebration now extends other communities and tribes in Manipur thereby reinforcing unity amidst diversity in the state. Let us imbibe the ideals associated with this festival to foster the spirit of amity and harmony, added the chief minister.
Ministers and well wishers had also greeted the people for a harmonious and joyful Ningol Chakouba.
The weight and measures department and the consumers club also took up measures to check manipulation to the consumers.
Biren Singh yesterday said that the fishery department of the state government will award Rs one lakh for the best fish farmers who produce largest quantity of fish in festival. Second best producer will be awarded a sum of rupees 70 thounsand and the third best fish producer will be awarded a sum rupees 60 thousands. Besides cash prize of Rs. 20,000/- will also be awarded to those fish farmers who produce indigenous fishes.
The award of the fish crop competition will be announced on Farmers’ Day, on July 10 next year.
To encourage fish traders the government bore transportation charges of the fish.
Deputy chief minister Yumanma Joykumar in his address at the fair said, development of wetlands and water bodies and also rain water harvesting are the key areas where proper system need to be introduced so that fisheries can be made successful in the state.
He said, water bodies in the state have to be developed as a measure to control flood and also to use as reservoirs where fisheries can be practised.
Government will try to re-appropriate fisheries budget to meet the expenditures in the successful implementation of various projects, added Joykumar.