Kolkata, Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009: For the state fisheries department, Cyclone Aila dealt a blow of Rs 13,959 crore in five districts — South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Howrah, East Midnapore and West Midnapore.
The report of the damages assessed by the department was presented to the Central team, which is currently visiting the area. “From nets to breeding grounds, pisciculture has been severely affected. Houses built by us for the fishermen have been destroyed,” said Rajpal S Kahlon, Principal Secretary, state Fisheries Department.
The district-wise break-up of the damages assessed shows that South 24-Parganas bore the maximum brunt. With 29 blocks of the district hit by the cyclone, officials have pegged the loss at Rs 6309.6 lakh. In North 24-Parganas, 22 blocks were affected and the loss incurred was Rs 3969.65 lakh.
“We have lost 4926.8 metric tonnes of fish, 2120.12 metric tonnes of prawns and 30.00 metric tonnes of dry fish. Around 46,805 fishermen’s houses have been damaged. Even government fish farms like Kalyani fish farm, BENFISH, West Bengal Fisheries Corporation Ltd and State Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd have suffered losses,” said Kahlon.
The estimated loss of ornamental fish has been put at Rs 22.965 lakh in South 24-Parganas. It has pegged at Rs 65,000 and Rs 1.35 lakh in North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore. According to officials, fish were found dead in cisterns, hapas (breeding areas) and tanks.