Amidst the skyrocketing unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir, the youth are taking advantage of government schemes and becoming employment providers.
One such youth is a 20-year-old trainee journalist, Basit, a resident of Sumlar village in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, who along with his uncle is establishing fish farms in different areas of the Bandipora district and is generating employment for the youth in the region. Notably, the fish farms in the private sector have increased manifold with hundreds of people getting attracted towards this trade in the Bandipora district, known for its freshwater streams and Asia’s largest lake – the Wullar Lake.
Back in 2016, Basit and his uncle set up a ‘Trout Farm’ in their native village sponsored by the Fisheries Department of the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
The ‘trout’ is a cold-cum-freshwater fish that needs running water and temperatures between 0 and 20 degrees Celsius to thrive. The stream in Sumlar village flows from glaciers nearby and has an apt temperature feasible for the fish.
Notably, the trout fish is a highly profitable fish and sells at Rs 500 in the local market.
After the low market, Basit took it into his hands and established a small selling pond on the Srinagar-Bandipora highway to attract customers, and it became successful.
Basit, who is currently a journalism student said, “First, we established a farm in our apple orchard but we saw little growth and profit, due to the prolonged period of Covid and frequent strikes”, adding, “but this year we are satisfied with the scheme of the government”.
He further stated, “After establishing another pond on the Nadihal-Bandipora highway, I was sceptical to reinvest after continued low profit in the past years, but I’m thankful to Allah, now we attract many customers”.
“We approached the department of fisheries and they taught us how to cultivate fish. We received subsidies under the Centre’s Rashtriya Kissan Vikas Yojna (RKVY) for construction, feed, and equipment,” he informed.
Basit is happy about his venture, from which, he not only feeds his own family by earning from the farm but is also providing employment to three persons in his village besides other people who are indirectly earning from this trade.
Basit thanked the Fisheries department of Bandipora for their support and timely counselling.
Reportedly, the duo sold 2,400 kilograms of fish fetching a sale of Rs 12 lakh. “We shared a profit of Rs 5 lakh each last year, while we spent Rs two lakh to feed the fish and other expenses,” said Basit.
He further said, “Youths must come forward to take benefits of the government schemes to generate their employment”.
“My uncle and I are running this farm and we have engaged two more youths with it and provide them with good salaries”, he further said.