On the menu: Sizzlingly fast hilsa supply to India

October 22nd, 2008 - 11:59 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Oct 22 (IANS) Officials in Bangladesh and India are working out ways to quicken the supply of the much-sought-after hilsa fish to India, an export that fetched Dhaka $9.24 million in the July-October season alone.Officials on both sides want to quicken loading and unloading and speed up the transport of this highly perishable commodity. The two sides urged their respective port authorities to improve efficiency, New Age newspaper said Wednesday.

Seven to eight truck-loads of the silver-scaled delicacy cross the Petrapole border to India’s West Bengal daily after which it hits the vast market in Kolkata and moves right up to Delhi’s eastern suburb, which has Asia’s largest wholesale fish market.

It fetches a higher price than hilsa from West Bengal, Orissa or Gujarat. But it is not an easily available commodity. Stocks are exhausted within hours of arrival.

More than 1,500 tonnes of hilsa crossed the border during the season this year.

Bangladesh kept up the supplies despite natural calamities like floods and Cyclone Sidr that hit last year.

It kept the price low at $4 a kilogram initially, but raised it to $6 after unscrupulous traders were found to be taking advantage of the low price and diverting supplies.

Officials suspect some traders have funnelled foreign exchange out of the country, taking advantage of the low export price of hilsa last year.

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