KOCHI: With the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) going slow on obtaining a legal opinion on the controversial cage fish farm at Mundanveli for which Rs 4.5 crore has been spent, the project is now on the verge of closure. More than 300 fish had died at the farm the other day owing to the negligence of the authorities. Though the water in the pond has to be changed at certain intervals it has not been done for the last 10 months.
“We made several requests to the officers concerned for providing a motor pump. However, no action has been taken. The mass fish death occurred due to their negligence,” said a worker at the farm.
The project set up by the former chairman of GCDA N Venugopal had been criticised by environmentalists who alleged massive destruction of mangroves. Even though the Collector submitted to the High Court no mangroves were destroyed, the new governing body has turned a blind eye to the issue.
It is also alleged the four workers tasked with looking after the project have been denied salary for several months. ‘’They have no interest in continuing with the project, which has led to the sorry state of affairs,” said another worker.
GCDA chairman C N Mohanan said the project did not generate profit. “Pearl spot, seer fingerlings and other fish species can bring a profit of over I5 lakh but it will never meet the project cost of I4.5 crore. Several other projects were also initiated by the previous governing body without getting an administrative sanction,” he said.
As the Mundanveli project is entangled in legal controversies, a final decision on it will be taken later, he said.