About one lakh fishermen of coastal Odisha are in the process of getting SIM Card at a nominal price by a venture which has players like Iffco’s IKSL, Odisha govt and Fishcopfed as its promoters.
Even before the government of Odisha chipped in, IKSL and FISHCOPFED had distributed about 7000 SIMs to the fishermen, informed Fishcopfed Managing Director B K Mishra to the Indian Cooperative.
FISHCOPFED showed the presentation to the Odisha government and ensured that the matter is taken by the Biju govt in the State Assembly. The project was approved and included in the budget thereby benefitting a large number of fishermen, said Mr Mishra.
There were two MOUs: one between IKSL and Odisha Govt and another between IKSL and Fishcopfed. We conduct surveys, identify fishermen who can be given this SIM, Mishra added.
Each SIM costs Rs 90 in which there is free talk-time of Rs 30. It comes around Rs 450 per annum but with discount it cost Rs 400. It is Rs four crore project and is in advance stage of completion. Fishcopfed Bhuvneswar office which is active in the identification of target group says that in a couple of months the job would be over.
IKSL of IFFCO which attracted the attention of US President Obama offers five free massages to the SIM card holder. These include weather forecast, rate of fish to gauge the mood of the market, announcement of new technology and information related to new schemes of the govt for the benefit of the fishermen.
There is also a toll-free number on which a fisherman can ask any query. The answer is delivered in local language.
Experts say that the move is set to revolutionize the fishery-scene in the country. They advocate expansion of the project to encompass whole of India.