A Fisheries Institute of Technology will come up in Ponneri at a cost of Rs. 34 crore, the Fisheries Minister K. A. Jayapal told the State Assembly on Wednesday. Replying to the debate on demands for grants to the Fisheries Department, he said that the decision follows the Chief Minster's announcement to set up such an institute last year.

For the first phase of work, Rs. 7 crore would be allocated during the current year, the Minister said.

The Institute would provide vocational education to people of the region, especially to fisherfolk, with a focus on technologies related to fish and fish processing. It would offer diploma and certificate courses to students boat engine repairs and maintenance, fish processing and prawn culture technology.

Sources said the Institute, which would be attached to the proposed Fisheries University headquartered at Nagapattinam, would soon start offering courses from a temporary building. The process of transferring land belonging to the Higher Education Department near the Government Arts College in Ponneri for the Institute is in the final stages.

Mr. Jayapal also told the Assembly that the Bill pertaining to setting up of the Fisheries University would shortly be tabled in the House. Already, the Chief Minister has directed that a Special Officer and a Joint Special Officer be appointed for the University.

The Minister also announced that the Tamil Nadu Fish Development Corporation will set up 10 mobile fish vending units for sale of fish. It will set up facilities such as an ice production unit and cold storage at the Santhome fish landing centre.

Consultants have also been appointed to set up fish processing parks in Kasimedu and another in Kancheepuram district.

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