Bangladesh tour: Modi wave may bring 'Hilsa' to the Indian shore

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Dhaka, June 5: Good news for Bengalis! PM Modi's Bangladesh tours may not just deal with diplomatic ties, but also open the doors to the gourmet's world...that is if he manages to convince the government there to revoke the long ban on the hilsa export.

Didi aka West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee could also be of some help.

Ilish

While discussing the ban could form a major part of the negotiations at the table, the other issues would include border enclaves, terrorism and Teesta water sharing.

But, what is of more interest to the Bengalis is the Ilish (Hilsa) export, a fish that forms a staple but delectable item in every Bengali household.

In the year 2012, the Sheikh Hasina government had banned the export of the fish from Bangladesh to other countries to ensure that the country is not deprived of the delicacy.

But the joy of the current situation comes to an end when the Bangladeshi fishermen and the importers clash. While the former are against revoking the ban (fearing a price slump post relaxation), the latter are keen to have their hands on the priced catch.

Secretary of the Kakdwip Fishermen's Association, Bijon Maity said,"We request the Prime Minister and our chief minister to maintain status quo on the hilsa ban. Let the curbs remain for the sake of native fishermen and their families. If it is relaxed, the price of our catch will nosedive."

The fishermen on the Indian side agree with the PM of India and the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

"When Banerjee visited Bangladesh last February she raised the issue, but Dhaka paid no heed. What the fishermen are saying is nonsense. The hilsa catch in our waters is miserable. Bangladeshi hilsa is in high demand in our markets," said Syed Anwar Maqsud, secretary of the West Bengal Fish Importers' Association.

Forget the 6,000 tonnes of Ilish that was flown in from the Bangladesh borders before the ban, even the Mayanmar catch have nothing to be happy about.

Thanks to the the porous borders of India and Bangladesh, Hilsa from the Padma river sneaks to the Indian side, which is sold at Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 a kilo in the Indian market.

Meanwhile, for the Bangali in India, all hopes are pinned on the Modi wave.

OneIndia News

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