Running for a century
- 1.5km long market
- 100 tonnes of fish sold in a day
- 250 shops
- Rui, katla, carps account 50% of the fish sold
In the one-hundred-year-old Paduar Bazaar in Cumilla, located at the junction of the Dhaka-Chattogram and the Cumilla-Noakhali regional highways, the fish market section is about one-kilometre-long where at least Tk2.5 crore worth of fish is sold in a day.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the market, held on Sundays and Thursdays every week, fish traders are seen sitting in three rows, with fresh and colourful fish. Large crowds gather to see and buy large fish.
Sophisticated buyers from various areas in Cumilla come to buy fish on the occasion of weddings and other big events. Owners of community centres and elite restaurants of the district also buy fish in bulk from the market.
Traders say 100 tonnes of fish, worth Tk2.5 crore, is sold in a day from almost 250 shops here. The best-selling fish are Rui, Katla, Tilapia, Pangas, Mrigel, Grass carp, Silver Carp, Bighead and Common carp, which accounts for 50% of the fish sold. Among other fish, 20% is Hilsa, 10% is local, and 20% is marine fish including Chapila, Laitya, Surma, Coral, Tuna, Rupachanda, Bata, Baila and Shrimp. Marine crabs are also sold here.
Rui, Katla, Mrigel and Carp are collected from the floodplains of Daudkandi, Meghna and Titas upazilas of Cumilla. Hilsa comes from Chandpur, Chattogram and Dhaka. Most of the marine fish is collected from Chattogram and some fish are brought from Cox's Bazar. Local fish are brought in from different upazilas of Cumilla, Chandpur and Brahmanbaria. Indigenous fish include Shing, Magur, Koi, Taki, Shoal, Tengra, Pabda, Putti, Kachki, Boal, Ayr, Bain and Gajar.
Most of the fishmongers are from Daudkandi in Cumilla, Shahrasti in Chandpur, Kasba in Brahmanbaria, seasonal traders of Karwan Bazar in Dhaka, nearby areas of Paduar Bazar, and various traders from most of the upazilas of greater Cumilla.
Carp fish seller Sumon of Daudkandi said he collects fish from the floodplains of Daudkandi. He sells fish worth Tk2 lakh on every market day, whereas Kabir, a vendor from Raipur in Daudkandi, said he sells fish worth Tk1.5 lakh.
Taslim Mia, a fish trader from Shahrasti in Chandpur, said, "I have been collecting Hilsa from Chandpur and selling them in this market for 20 years. I sell fish worth Tk55-60,000 on a market day.
Hilsa trader Arman from Karwan Bazar in Dhaka said, "Besides selling fish in Dhaka, I come to Cumilla two days a week. It is profitable to sell fish here, sales are much higher here."
Ali Akbar, a buyer, said he came from Mia Bazar in Chauddagram to buy fish as all the fresh fish of choice are available. Although his home is 20 kilometres away, it does not take much time to come by highway.
Another buyer, Shah Faisal Karim, said, "Our house is in the Paduar market area. My father and uncle used to buy fish from this market. We also do the same. It's nice to see such colourful fish fair near the house."
Abdul Malek Bhuiyan, president of the market committee, said, "The fish market used to be about 1.5 kilometres long – from the foot-bridge to the BADC building. Now the market has become somewhat narrow as the construction of four-lane roads on the regional highways is going on. The fish market is the largest in Cumilla. The traders sell the fish very easily as there is no problem of warehouse owners."