Shortage in supply and extra expenses owing to Puja subscription have led to a sharp rise in the prices of rohu and katla fish across markets in Kolkata, while an abundance in supply has lowered the prices of hilsa.
The bulk of the fish supplied to Kolkata’s markets comes from cold storages, where the stock of the last harvest is nearing end.
The drivers of trucks bringing fish from other states to Kolkata have to pay Puja subscriptions on their way to various markets, said a professor of fishery economics and statistics.
The truck owners add the amount spent on Puja subscriptions to the amount they charge traders after unloading their stocks in markets, resulting in a rise in the price of fish.
On Sunday, cut pieces of rohu and katla sold for Rs 400 and Rs 500 a kilo, respectively, at Lake Market. “A month ago, cut pieces of rohu sold for Rs 250 a kilo and that of katla Rs 300 a kilo,” said Amar Das, a fish retailer at Lake Market.
The price is lesser if one buys the entire fish. “Whole rohu sold for Rs 250 a kilo and whole katla Rs 350 a kilo on Sunday,” Das said.
At the Park Circus market, cut pieces of katla sold for Rs 400 a kilo and cut pieces of rohu Rs 200 a kilo on Sunday.
“The supply has gone down. Fewer trucks are coming from Andhra Pradesh carrying fish,” said Sheikh Fazal Yousuf, a fish retailer at the Park Circus market.
Tapas Mondal, a fish retailer at Kasba’s Jadavgarh market, said cut pieces of katla and rohu sold for Rs 400 and Rs 300 a kilo, respectively, on Sunday. “The prices have gone up by Rs 50 to Rs 100 in the last fortnight,” he said. Somen Sahu, a professor of fishery economics and statistics at the West Bengal University of Fishery and Animal Sciences, said on Sunday demand was outstripping supply.
“The stock from the last harvest, which was in cold storage, has declined. New fish, seeds for which were released in July and August, is not abundantly available yet. There is a demand-supply mismatch that is pushing up the prices,” said Sahu, who is also marine advisor to the state fisheries department.
Across India, this is a lean period for fish, he said. The fish that comes from outside Bengal — primarily from Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — as well as the local variety from Purba Medinipur and the East Kolkata Wetlands is in short supply, Sahu said. “Add to that the Puja subscriptions that transporters have to pay on their way to markets. That is getting reflected in retail prices,” he said.
It was a different picture for hilsa, though, as the supply is abundant. Das said the price of good quality hilsa has dropped from Rs 1,800 to Rs 1,200 a kilo at Lake Market.
“The hilsa catch at Kakdwip, Namkhana and Digha is good. The local catch has led to a steady supply and that has brought down the price,” he said
■ Rohu (cut pieces): Rs 400 per kilo on Sunday from Rs 250 a month ago
■ Katla (cut pieces): Rs 500 per kilo on Sunday from Rs 300 a month ago
■ Hilsa: Rs 1,200 per kilo on Sunday from Rs 1,800 a month ago