The Telegraph
Sunday , April 13 , 2014
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Expect few fish on Poila Baisakh

Ranchi, April 12: Come Tuesday, Bengalis of the state capital will have a tough time playing Poila Baisakh hosts with their dear fish getting dearer, thanks to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Ranchi wholesalers said that with scores of trucks requisitioned for the polls, the much-needed fish supply from outside the state has reduced considerably, causing prices to go up.

“Fish supply has dropped since the election kicked off. This has automatically led to an escalation in the prices of various varieties. As a result, fish is likely to get costlier on Bengali New Year’s Day owing to a rise in demand,” said Pappu Singh of Jai Mata di Fish Company, a wholesale firm operating from Malha Toli.

Singh further revealed that the daily supply of three to four truckloads of fish had gone down to one. “A few trucks are coming to Dhanbad and Jamshedpur. A part of that supply is being brought to us in small vehicles. The prices of chalani (imported) fish had gone up by 10 to 20 per cent in the wholesale market. Retailers are selling them at higher rates in the local markets,” he added.

According to Singh, chalani rohu and katla weighing around 1kg, which earlier sold at about Rs 100 per kg, now cost Rs 110. The larger ones, earlier available at Rs 120 per kg, is being sold at Rs 140 a kg.

Other popular varieties like local rohu, katla and prawns are selling at much higher rates in local retail markets. Depending on size, rohu and katla procured from nearby places are priced between Rs 300 and Rs 400 per kg. Similarly, prawns are available for around Rs 600 a kg in Doranda and Lalpur markets. Small ones of local varieties come for Rs 300 per kg.

To add to the fish lovers’ woes, wholesalers have decided to keep Malha Toli market closed on Tuesdays, beginning April 15. The move is bound to upset those who had planned to procure fish at lower rates from the wholesale mart. “We have informed the retailers to stock fish in advance as our shops will remain closed,” Singh said.

Some retailers, however, have grand plans. “I am planning to bring fresh fish, including Hilsa, from Calcutta by train, but they will be costly,” said Rajendra Nishad, a retailer at Doranda market, hinting that the silver delicacy would have a lofty four-figure price tag.