K. Saseendran of Vengappaly in Wayanad district has won the State award for freshwater aquaculture this year.

K.V. Rameshan of Kannur won the award for brackish water prawn farming and P.P. Balakrishnan of Cheruvathoor in Kasaragod district won the award for mussel culture.

Rameeja of Kuttipadamkulam, Palakkad district, was chosen the best rearing farmer and D. Satyavratan of Udayanapuram, Kottayam distict, was selected the best aquaculture coordinator.

The award for the best fish farmers' club went to Chazhoor Club in Thrissur district.

The awards for freshwater aquaculture and prawn culture carry Rs.25,000 each while that for the best coordinator carries Rs.5,000. The other awards carry Rs.10,000 each. Each of the winners will also be presented with a plaque and a certificate.

Announcing the awards, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday that the winners were selected by a committee headed by K. Appukkuttan, retired scientist of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.

The awards would be presented at the Poyya model fish farm near Thrissur on September 6.

The State-level inauguration of a Rs.3-crore scheme for culture of pearl spot fish under the National Agriculture Development Programme would also be held on the occasion.

Pension arrears

Mr. Chandy said that Rs.14.46 crore had been released for payment of pension arrears to fishermen before Onam. About 49,000 fishermen would get up to Rs.2,400 as arrears from January. The Matsyafed would increase the quantum of interest-free loans provided to fishermen from Rs.10,000 to Rs.15,000.

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