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B’desh increases consignment of hilsa export but reduces number of days

On an average, we are importing 50 MT daily and it will take around three months to import the huge consignment,” said Anwar Muqsood, secretary of both the Fish Importers’ Association and Howrah Wholesale Fish Market, today.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The Sheikh Hasina government’s decision to increase consignments of hilsa exports to India within nine days from 23 September seems very difficult for both exporters and importers to transport the fish.

On 23 September, the commerce ministry of Bangladesh decided to export another 2500 metric tonnes (MT) to Bengal for its fish-loving Bengalis ahead of Durga Puja festival directing exporters in that country to complete the process by 3 October.

The clearance came within three days after the ministry on 20 September allowed export 2080 MT silver crop of Padma in the first phase. It had approved the exporters to the consignment till 10 October. The second directive of the ministry restricting the period for only 11 days till 3 October has raised eyebrows of exporters and importers in Bangladesh and India respectively.

Considering the difficulties in importing Bangladeshi hilsa within this short period importers in Kolkata has written to the Bangladesh government requesting the latter’s interventions on the issue.

“It’s very difficult to import the huge consignment of 4600 MT hilsa following the first and second phase approval of the Bangladesh government within this short period. We have imported only 150 MT hilsa through Petrapol border since 22 September so far.

On an average, we are importing 50 MT daily and it will take around three months to import the huge consignment,” said Anwar Muqsood, secretary of both the Fish Importers’ Association and Howrah Wholesale Fish Market, today.

“We are thankful to the Bangladesh government for allowing their exporters to export such massive quantities of hilsa as Puja gift for Bengal. But to reach the target of importing 4600 MT within nine days we have to import 500 mt everyday and this is very difficult.,” Muqsood said.

“I have written to the Bangladesh commerce minister requesting him to give adequate time for smooth export and import process of hilsa. I have also spoken to the officials in Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi on the issue,” he added.

“It will be the biggest ever consignment of Bangladeshi hilsa hitting markets in Kolkata and other towns since 2012 when the Bangladesh government had banned export the silver fish of the Padma to India,” he said. This year, city markets are virtually running out of even local hilsa in our state.

Non-availability of the local hilsa has made the price highly expensive. It costs around Rs 2000 per kg in the city and districts. During September in 2020, as much as 1,450 MT of Bangladeshi hilsa were imported to India after Bangladesh lifted ban on exporting the fish.