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13 April, 2016 02:09:50 PM
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Hilsa prices shoot up in Khulna markets

STAFF REPORTER, Khulna
Hilsa prices shoot up in Khulna markets

Prices of hilsa have skyrocketed in the retail markets of Khulna city due to increased demand and low supplies over the week ahead of Pahela Baishakh.
As part of Bangla New Year celebrations, households and different organisations in Khulna entertain their guests with watery rice (‘panta’) and fried hilsa in the morning. However, this time the shiny, silvery delicacy will be off their menus, as prices of the fish have hit the roof.
Production of hilsa has been on the decline in rivers, including the Padma and the Meghna, and coastal fishing areas of the Bay of Bengal in the current season. Supplies of hilsa in the local markets have dwindled to a great extent, resulting in soaring prices of the fish.  Also, as hilsa fry and baby fish are being caught indiscriminately, they cannot grow up. Increased demand due to Pahela Boishakh amid a shortage of supplies has caused the price hike, said hilsa trader Ruhul Kuddus.
Ratan Lal Dutta, a hilsa retailer of Natun Bazar in the city, said: “Now hilsa weighing 600 grams is selling at Tk. 700 to Tk. 800 per kg, hilsa weighing 800 to 900 grams at Tk. 900 to Tk. 1,000 per kg, while the fish weighing 1,000 grams or above is priced at Tk. 1,400 to 1,600 per kg.”
“Only affluent people are buying hilsa now, as a medium-sized hilsa costs Tk. 800 to Tk. 1,000,” said Saidur Rahman, another retail hilsa trader at KCC Sandha Bazar in the city. He sold some four mounds of hilsa in just three days. He also said, “Last year, the price of hilsa rose to the range of Tk. 400 to Tk. 500 per kg on the occasion of New Year’s Day, but this year it rose to Tk. 1,000 per kg.” Abdul Halim Sardar, a retailer at Sheikhpara Bazar in the city, said, “I primarily sell only hilsa, but as I could not get adequate hilsa this time, I am being forced to sell other varieties of fish for survival.”
Mohammad Mohsin, a hilsa trader of Mistripara Bazar, said: “Fishermen try to catch large quantities of hilsa to make more money, but most of them are frustrated due to the poor catch of this delicious fish.” He also alleged that hilsa is sold at an exorbitant price in Khulna city as the bulk of the fish is smuggled into India.
Prafulla Kumar Sarker, deputy director (quality control and inspection) of the Khulna fisheries office, said while the catching of hilsa depends on favourable conditions, the weather during March to April this year was not very conducive. In the month of Chaitra in the Bengali calendar, there was rainfall only for a few days. If the weather improves, large quantities of hilsa can be caught, he added.
Sarker also pointed out that according to an Act of 1950, catching and selling of fish fry are punishable offences. But catching and selling of the fry of hilsa and of other fish were rampant in the district as the officials concerned remained indifferent to offenders, he added.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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