AGARTALA: Fish import from Bangladesh has been stopped for 20 days that created a huge crisis in Tripura markets, officials said here on Monday.
“Bangladeshi exporters have stopped exporting fish to Tripura after a damage to 10,000 kg of fish valued at Rs 22 lakh on September 5 due to some ‘monetary disputes’. The fish was damaged as these could not be off-loaded timely,” a senior Customs official said, but requested not to be named. He said: “Bangladeshi fish exporters want security during cross border trading. Fish traders of India and Bangladesh are likely to meet here on Wednesday to settle the dispute.”
Bangladeshi media quoting the traders across the border said that some people in Agartala-Akhaura border demanded donation from the fish traders causing the disputes among the traders. On an average 14,000 to 15,000 kg of various fish, excluding delicious hilsa fish, is being imported from Bangladesh to Tripura through the Agartala-Akhaura integrated checkposts, just along the Agartala capital city.
A fish trader said that due to no import from Bangladesh, over 200 loading and unloading labourers and transport workers remained jobless during the past 20 days. Industry and Commerce Department, Customs and Agartala Land Port Authority officials refused to comment on the “sensitive and disputed issue”.
Meanwhile, an official of the Agartala Land Port Authority said that Bangladesh has reportedly lifted a 2012 ban on the export of their national fish hilsa (or Elish), whose key markets include India, to check its smuggling and tap into the growing global demand for the popular but scarce food species. Bangladesh’s Ministry of Commerce had banned the export of hilsa fish on August 1, 2012 due to its low availability. “Though the Bangladesh government reportedly withdraws the ban on the export of hilsa fish to India, the decision was not executed through the India-Bangladesh border with Tripura,” the Agartala Land Port Authority official said.
Tripura imports on an average 32,000 kg fish daily from other states, specially from Andhra Pradesh, to meet its local demands. (IANS)