SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Government has extended its interim ban on fish imported from outside the State due to the further detection of the harmful preservatives called formalin in the neighboring state of Assam.
Additional Chief Secretary in-charge of food safety, P.W.Ingti categorically told The Sentinel on Monday that the ban on import of fish will be extended by more 15 days. The first interim ban was announced on July 24 following the detection of formalin during the random checking carried out by the food safety officials in Nongpoh.
“Subsequently, random test have been carried out and in course of our review meeting the decision is to further extend by another 15 days,” stated Ingti, even as he added that the decision is basically on the communication that imported fish with traces of formalin are still being detected in Assam. He said that the concerned officials will continue with the random test carried out by the newly procured equipments.
Meghalya imports around 21,000 metric tonnes of fish from Assam, West Bengal, Odisha and Tripura. The ban has drastically affected the fish vendors who stated that the local fishes that come to the market could hardly meet the local demand. It is further compounded by the exorbitant price where the normal consumers cannot afford to buy, stated the few fish vendors at the Shillong Iewduh fish market. The local fishes are available at a cost of around Rs 400 per kg, a reason that a member of the Khasi Jaintia Hills fish traders and retailers association Donbok Marbaniang said, “As off today, the ordinary consumers will not be able to buy the local variety of fishes that mostly comes from Ri Bhoi district”.
The Sentinel visited Iewduh and found the usual buzz,fish market was full of other activities is now with a different look. Many of the fish merchants are giving a facelift to their shops in the form of renovation and paintings and expression of their qualms on their business in the days to come. These qualms came along with the Additional Chief Secretary stating that the government ban is more of because of public health and safety.