YS Jagan Mohan Reddy | (Pic: Express)
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy | (Pic: Express)

Andhra Pradesh: Long due Fisheries University to become reality soon

The AP Aqua University is set to come up on a 40-acre site near Narasapuram in the West Godavari district

After years of delay in its establishment, the Andhra Pradesh Aqua University is finally coming to fruition. With Andhra Pradesh being the largest exporter of marine products in the country, the state government hopes that the university would provide the much-needed skilled human resources for the aquaculture sector and that it will benefit the farmers immensely when it is fully functional.

The AP Aqua University is set to come up on a 40-acre site near Narasapuram in the West Godavari district and it will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 332 crore in the first phase. And in the second phase, a seafront campus and research centre are to be established on a 350-acre site at Biyyaputippa village at a cost of Rs 222 crore, according to the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), as mentioned in a PTI report.

The varsity will offer diplomas in fisheries and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Fisheries Science, besides PhD degrees. Andhra Pradesh will be the fifth state in the country to get such a university after Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, while Maharashtra is home to the Central Institute of Fisheries Education.

Given the booming aquaculture sector in the state, the previous Chandrababu Naidu government first mooted the proposal to set up an exclusive fisheries university in a public-private partnership mode. Then, in 2015, the Thailand-based Asian Institute of Technology came forward with a partnership for technology transfer and the Bhimavaram-based Anand Group of Companies also ventured to establish the university in an area of 150 acres.

In 2017, the Chinese Xi'an University agreed to extend its cooperation for setting up the university through knowledge transfer and research. "But the university did not take off as the previous government failed to allocate required land," officials in the CMO said. However, The Jagan Mohan Reddy government enacted the legislation in December 2020 for setting up the AP Fisheries University and subsequently changed its name to AP Aqua University.

But the project saw no progress for close to two years as the ground-breaking event was put off several times over the months. According to the legislation, the objective of the university is to impart education in different branches of fisheries science and undertake extension activities in rural areas of the state. Promotion of research, technology refinement in production and post-harvest technologies, including processing and marketing and streamlining fisheries education leading to a comprehensive development of the aqua sector are some of the other objectives, as per PTI.

The existing College of Fishery Science at Muthukur in SPS Nellore district, the Sri Mandali Venkata Krishna Rao Fisheries Polytechnic in Krishna district, fisheries research stations at Kakinada and Undi, the instructional research aqua firm at Balabhadrapuram will now be brought under the AP Aqua University. "Through right interventions, aqua crop losses can be curtailed, thereby leading to a monetary benefit of about Rs 4,000 crore per annum to the farmers," an ace official of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department said. "Proposals for setting up new fisheries colleges and polytechnics in different parts of the state were under consideration," he added.