Imphal: Fisheries Minister, Heikham Dingo Singh, inaugurated the First Emoinu Fish Festival, 2023, at Hapta Kangjeibung, Palace Compound, Imphal East, on Tuesday. The festival was organised by the Department of Fishery especially in connection with the Emoinu Iratpa celebration.
It may be worth mentioning that Imoinu Iratpa is celebrated on the 12th day of the Wakching month of the Manipuri Lunar Calendar, with traditional gaiety and religious fervour. On this day, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and fish are offered to evoke the blessings of Goddess Emoinu, believed to be the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister, H. Dingo Singh said organising the first Emoinu Fish Festival under the guidance of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh is a great achievement for the fishery department.
In the history of Manipur, the festival is one of its kind where not only fish but also seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits were displayed and sold for religious offerings to Goddess Emoinu.
He added that the festival is a one-stop centre for the public to easily buy all the items required for the Emoinu Iratpa celebration.
The Minister further said a major improvement has been seen in the fishery department. In the recently concluded Annual Fish Fair cum Fish Crop Competition, 2022 organized in connection with Ningol Chakouba, above Rs 3.5 crore of fish were sold in a single day which was a big achievement for the department, he said. “For the Emoinu Fish Festival the target production of fish is 50,000 kg, of which Meitei Sareng production is targeted for 2,000 kg,” the Minister added.
Dingo further added that the department has been immensely proactive in taking steps to increase the fish yield in the state. He said that to encourage newly established fish farmers and entrepreneurs, the department has been distributing loans under centralised and state-sponsored schemes to increase the fish yield in the state and become self-reliant. He also added that the department is trying to implement a cash culture and aquaculture scheme in the water bodies of the state to increase the yield.
The Minister appealed to the public to refrain from malpractices while catching fish and not to catch fish during the breeding season. He also appealed to the public to cooperate with the fishery department and fish farmers so as to increase the fish yield in the state.
In his keynote address, H. Balkrisna Singh, Director of Fishery, stated that the department has been holding a fish fair since 1979. Organizing fish fairs in the state is intended to increase fish yield and supply to meet the demand at affordable prices. He said the First Emoinu Fish Festival was held after successfully organizing the Annual Fish Fair cum Crop Competition, 2022, held in connection with Ningol Chakouba. The Emoinu Fish Festival is mainly held to encourage the fish farmers and decrease the import of fish into the state, he added.
He further said that altogether 90 stalls, provided by the department at no cost, were opened with the participation of the Agriculture and allied departments of the government of Manipur and other private firms. The rate of various fish sold at the festival was fixed by the department. The fishery department also bears the transportation charges for the fish brought in for sale by the fish farmers. The festival was open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., he added.
MLA Kongkham Robindro Singh; Chairman, MANIDCO, H. Robita: Secretary, Fishery, Neeta Arambam; Addl. Secretary, Fishery, Khamsing Ahum; Addl. Director, Fishery; District Officials and Staff of the Fisheries Department, and fish farmers attended the inaugural function, among others.