EVEN as J R D Tata, the grand old man of Tata Sons Ltd, called upon people to support the shrimp-farm project at Chilika the Union forests and environment minister Kamal Nath nominated scientists D K Biswas, Rajni Warrior and C L Trisal to assess the impact of Chilika Aquatic Farms Ltd (CAFL) on the lake's brackish-water ecosystem.
This comes in the wake of Nath's meeting with the Tata Steel chairman Russi Mody, one of the promoters of the fully export-oriented shrimp project in Orissa. Mody was reportedly assured by the minister that the project would be cleared soon, should the ministry's expert committee find nothing objectionable about the project's ecological impacts.
Meanwhile, CAFL officials say that pending ministry clearance they intend to sell shrimp seed from their seed farm at the Puri beach, with a capacity of 200 million post larvae per annum, to farmers all over the country. Tata officials claim a "very good response" for CAFL seeds from shrimp farmers who anticipate earning a good income in the years ahead because even after the CAFL farms go on stream, they can use only about 80 million post larvae per year. Tata officials say the shrimp ponds are ready and the seeds would be put in as soon as ministry clearance is obtained. And, how long would that be? "Well, sooner than many people think," quipped a senior Tata official.
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