He said that nearly 60-65 kinds of disease and abnormality were found in fishes in India and the one reason why West Bengal slipped from the number one position in fish production was due to the fact that 10-20 per cent of them died of diseases.

"Such hospitals are quite common in foreign countries," Abraham, a senior fish microbiologist with the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, said. The institute will not only help fish farmers increase yield by reducing the number of fish deaths, but will also ensure that people will consume healthy fish, he points out. According to Abraham, the hospital will have 50 glass aquariums, 25 circular water tanks, each with a capacity of 500 litres, to admit and treat diseased fish.

The hospital will also have a separate well-equipped pathological lab to diagnose various fish diseases. Asked when fish growers should approach the hospital, he said, "In such cases as abnormality, sudden death, change in colour or drastic reduction of weight, they may either contact the hospital or visit it with fish and water  samples."
    
He said that the diseased fish would be kept in aquariums for observation and after ascertaining the disease abnormality, medicines and tips would be provided to the growers. The fish hospital, which is funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, under the Union Ministry of  Agriculture, has a budget of Rs five crore. "Nearly Rs 1.70 crore will be spent on hospital construction and the rest on creating infrastructure and lab facilities," said Abraham.

Apart from Abraham, who is heading the project, there will be another scientist and the team of the two will be assisted by 4-6 research scholars initially. Abraham said that the hospital would document diseases affecting fish in Bengal to be forwarded to the World Animal Health Organisation, Paris of which India is a member.

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