Dhaka to bow to Delhi’s pressure for Hilsa

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Dhaka is likely to lift the export ban on Hilsa from next month after repeated requests from Delhi. The ministry of commerce, which imposed ban more than three years ago, has already taken steps to lift the ban following directives of top government policymakers. The issue was raised during the visit by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, during talks with his counterpart, prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka. The West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee accompanied Modi during the visit. Commerce secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamun said a decision in this regard would be taken after Eid, likely to be observed on July 19. Quoting local businessmen, he said hisla was being smuggled to West Bengal and the government was losing out on revenue. Delhi had urged Dhaka thrice to lift the ban, which was made effective from July 2012. Before imposition of the ban, between July 2010 and February 2011, Bangladesh earned Tk 208 crore by exporting 6,898 tonnes of hilsha. Bangladesh earned Tk 125 crore in 2009-2010. At the time, the government had launched into a campaign to protect the country’s dwindling resource of hilsa. Officials in the livestock and fisheries ministry said the campaign had yielded positive results as the fisheries department data showed an increase in its catch in the last fiscal year at 3,91,000 tonnes. From 1983 to 1999, the average catch of Hilsa was 2,11,000 tonnes per year. But since early 1980s, the availability of the national fish continued to decline in inland rivers, which experts said was caused by morphological changes, pollution and human intervention.

Source: New Age