Bangla stir to hit Bengal’s stomach
The unrest in Bangladesh has claimed its first major casualty in the state — the availability of freshwater fish in the markets of Bengal. If the acute slowdown in the supply of such delicacies as tangra, bekti, parshe and gajal from across the border isn’t bad enough news, the state may soon face a sharp spike in the prices of the traditional rohu and katla — an integral part of Bengal’s daily diet.
Imports of fish from Bangladesh have dropped drastically to between four and five tons a day from the normal average of 25 tons.
The state fisheries department plans to contact the Centre and Bangladeshi government to find a way out of the problem. “We’re well aware of the crisis. Members of the Bangladeshi Fish Importers’ Association (BFIA) have already told me about the development,” Chandranath Sinha, state fisheries minister, said on Sunday.
“I’ll speak to the Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh and the Centre soon, and request their intervention to ensure a normal flow of these fishes to our state. Or else, we’ll have to depend only on rohu and katla supplied by such states as Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh,” Sinha added.
“Trucks carrying supplies of Bangladeshi fishes to Kolkata are getting stranded at different points in that country because of the violence there. Only 4-5 tons of freshwater fishes are being imported to Bengal daily across the Petrapole border, at a time when the import of the elusive hilsa to India has already been banned,” Syed Anwar Maqsood, secretary, BFIA, said.