The traders of hilsa fish have got a special permission to export the fish to India, although the export of this Bengali delicacy has been banned since 2012.
Nearly 1,450 tonnes of hilsa fish is all set to enter India from Bangladesh next week, The Economic Times reported.
Bangladeshi hilsa is considered to be a gourmet food in West Bengal. For the superior quality in taste of the 'Padmar ilish' (hilsa from river Padma in Bangladesh), people are willing to pay high prices for it.
Confirming about the special permission signed on September 10, Syed Anwar Maqsood, secretary of fish importers' association, said, "Nine out of nearly 200 exporters, who sought government permission to export hilsa to india, were given the special permission."
"It will be exported to Kolkata by next week through the Benapole-Petrapole border," he added.
The weight of Bangladeshi hilsa, that will be going to India, will vary between 800 and 1,200 grams.
"The wholesale rate of hilsa in India will be around Rs800-1,400 per kg depending upon the size," said Maqsood, who is also the secretary of Howrah Wholesale Fish Market.
In 2019, the government had lifted the export ban on hilsa for a temporary period from September 28 to October and had sent 500 tonnes of hilsa fish as a Durga Puja gift. But after October 10 exports to India completely stopped again.
This year the supply of hilsa from West Bengal has not been encouraging. The landing has been less. Only four-five days ago, fishermen were able to catch around 150 tonnes of hilsa which is inadequate to meet the demand from the state alone.
However, hilsa fish has been entering India from Bangladesh through the illegal route. The Border Security Force (BSF) had seized 200 kg of the prized hilsa fish on September 4 while it was being smuggled into India from Bangladesh through the border in West Bengal, said an official.
A BSF patrol team, on noticing that four-five persons were trying to wade through a water body with loads on their heads towards India from Bangladesh in the Kalyani border outpost area, tried to stop them. They managed to flee the spot, but left their belongings behind, said a BSF official, who did not wish to be identified.
The BSF team recovered four big plastic containers hidden under water hyacinth, with 200 kg hilsa worth around Rs2.4 lakh in the Indian market.
The seized fish was handed over to the customs office at Petrapole. The BSF has seized 2,800 kg of hilsa fish so far this year while being smuggled into India from Bangladesh, said the official.