Kolkata: In a significant stride to ensure a better livelihood for the fish farmers in the state, the Panchayats and Rural Development department is taking a slew of measures to develop infrastructure for cultivation, storage and quality control of fish, the most favourite delicacy of the Bengalis. Come Saturday and the department is kickstarting a new project ‘Meen Mitra’ at Tamluk in East Midnapore to provide the fish farmers knowledge and technical knowhow on augmentation of production and handling problems associated with the cultivation of the species. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”There will be a 15 days’ hands-on training for 34 members of the Self-Help Groups who are associated with fish cultivation in the area. They will be reaching out to other fish farmers in the state and will impart knowledge and technical knowhow on the nature of cultivation depending upon the quality of water and how to address problems associated with cultivation. They will be acting as a catalyst for the fish producers at the block level,” a senior official of the department said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata164 people from nine places in North and South 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah, South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Siliguri and Darjeeling and of course East Midnapore will come under the project in the first phase. The department will also provide equipment needed for soil testing, water testing and other requisites. According to the official, there are broadly four types of water — fresh, brackish, marine and cold water . The training will be imparted on the nature of the waterbodies available in a particular area for scientific breeding of fishes. The department for the first time in the state is also boosting the infrastructure for better storage and quality control. “We will come up with solar dehydrated units in certain earmarked areas so that fishermen do not dry fish under the sun beside the sea or the river. The funds for five such units priced at around Rs 2 lakh per unit have already been placed,” the official said. The department is also coming up with mini ice plants for storage of fish and funds for five such units have already been placed. “We are also procuring 20 cool boxes which will retain the freshness of fish for a longer period. The equipment are being procured from the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in Hyderabad through the West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation that comes under the aegis of our department,” the official maintained.