Thee trucks carrying 12 ton of Bangladeshi Hilsa out of 1,450 ton promised by the neighbouring country arrived in Bengal late on Monday evening through the Petrapole border here in North 24-Parganas district.
The Sheikh Hasina Government had last week announced that it would export 1,450 ton of hilsa to India as a Puja goodwill gesture.
The remaining will arrive through the Petrapole border, around 71km from Kolkata, in phases by October 10, officials and agents said
Sources in Petrapole said the unloading of Hilsa from the Bangladeshi trucks began Monday morning.
Packed in theromocol boxes with ice, the fish was then loaded onto Indian trucks.
For the first time since 2012, when Bangladesh had banned the export of Hilsa fish to India, the government of the neighbouring country has given special permission for the export of the much-loved delicacy to India.
The export wing under the Bangladeshi commerce ministry on Thursday last approved nine private agencies in the country to export around 1,450 MT of Hilsa to India.
The first consignment of 12 tonnes, the largest consignment in recent times, headed for Kolkata soon after its arrival.
“More such consignments will come by October 10. We are thankful to the Bangladesh government for responding to our letters to their commerce ministry,” a member of West Bengal Fish Importers’ Association said.
“We have been trying for this since 2012. Hopefully, the price of Hilsa would be now within the reach of fish lovers,” said Syed Anwar Maqsood, secretary of the West Bengal Fish Importers’ Association.
“The price of Bangladeshi hilsa would come down to Rs 1,200 per kg for bigger sizes and Rs 800 per kg for smaller sizes, weighing 700 to 800 grams,” he added.
Meanwhile, exporters and wholesale fish traders in Kolkata and Howrah said they were relieved and expect the Hilsas to be readily available in another day or two
Ganga and sea hilsa are being sold in Kolkata markets at between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,800 per kg. The production of Hilsa has been declining over the years.
However, Bangladesh has been able to check the declining Hilsa population by banning fishing during the breeding period and establishing sanctuaries for the fish.
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