Dry days for hilsa-loving Bengalis in the state are all set end within couple of days. The most coveted silver fish of the Padma will be available in markets across the state from Thursday.
Bangladesh government has finally approved 52 agencies in the country to export more than 2000 metric tonnes (MT) hilsa to India ahead of Durga puja festival in Bengal. “It’s a Durga puja gift from Sheikh Hasina government for fish-loving Bengalis in our state. On Monday, the Bangladesh commerce ministry has approved 52 agencies in the country to export 40 MT hilsa each to India till 10 October.
In all 2080 MT hilsa will hit markets by Thursday at a time when the city and districts are virtually running out of the local silver fish usually netted at Digha, Diamond Harbour or Kolaghat during the entire monsoon,” said Anwar Muqsood, secretary of both the Fish Importers’ Association and Howrah Wholesale Fish Market, today.
“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,” Anwar said.
“We were in regular touch with the Bangladeshi government through different administrative levels in Delhi for the past one month expecting a considerable consignment of Bangladeshi hilsa this time by the end of September,” he added. 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 city markets,” he added.
“In some markets hilsa weighing around 200 to 500 gms are being sold at around Rs 600 to Rs 800 per kg,” a small seller at Dum Dum bazaar said. 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. With lifting of ban Kolkata markets had adequate supply of Bangladeshi hilsa during the Puja.
Fish traders in city markets felt that exorbitant prices of hilsa would also come down once the Bangladeshi hilsa land in Bengal. Prices of Bangladeshi hilsa may be around Rs 1,300 to Rs 1400 per kg for bigger sizes and Rs 900
to Rs 1000 per kg for smaller sizes, weighing 700 to 800 grams, he added.