Kolkata, September 21
The Bangladesh government has permitted traders to sell nearly 4,000 metric tonnes of Hilsa to India ahead of the festive Durga Puja season, officials said.
Hilsa from Bangladesh's Padma and Meghna rivers and from Chandpur where the two rivers meet has long been prized by Hilsa connoisseurs as among the tastiest of fishes.
Dhaka's Chief Controller of Imports and Exports issued licences to 79 exporters who would be able to supply 50 metric tonnes of Hilsa each.
India is our closest neighbour. As in previous years, Bangladesh will open up export of Hilsa to India ahead of the Durga Puja, the country's diplomats, posted in Kolkata, said on Wednesday.
Mintu Pal, 42, a wholesale dealer of marine products here, said, “Padma Hilsa gets snapped up in the market regardless of the price. This export by Bangladesh ahead of the pujas will make markets buoyant despite the large quantities being offered as they will pull up prices and demand, in any case, goes up this season.”
While most of the prized Hilsa from Bangladesh will be taken up by markets in West Bengal, traders said significant quantities were also sold in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai for fish lovers there.
Officials said all exports will have to be completed by the deadline of October 30 as fishing for Hilsa is paused for some time from October 12, to allow the fish to breed.
Sheikh Hasina had taken an initiative a few years ago to allow exports of Hilsa ahead of the Durga Puja on a request by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as part of what is now referred to as “Hilsa diplomacy.”
Sukumar Das, a fish seller in a market in south Kolkata, said, "We sell Hilsa procured from Diamond Harbour and Kolaghat but Hilsa from the Padma river is more sought after by customers here and is priced higher. Now, we expect the consignment to hit local markets from the first week of October for ordinary customers."
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