Bangladesh has banned Hills from being exported to India following a dispute over the Teesta River water treatment. Their position is that the implementation of the river water agreement will cause the rivers of Bangladesh to dry up. But fishmongers say the hills reach Calcutta via Angrai and Hakimpur, which share a border with Bangladesh. Fish smuggling is also widespread in the hills of North Bengal.
Police controls are strong on both sides of the border. But the fish is brought to India on ships under other items. The Hillsa fish brought to India were recently caught by the Border Security Force.
Bablu Naskar, a fishmonger, says a lot of hills have been raised in recent days. Fisheries Minister Akhil Giri also admitted that the fish came from Bangladesh. But he says the city is not getting enough fish.
Bijon Maithi, secretary of the Kakdweep Fishermen’s Association, said that unrestricted fishing was the main reason for Hillsa’s unavailability. Local fishermen are catching baby hills in violation of the law. Fishing continues during the breeding season. Greed is the main reason for the scarcity of fish in India. After constant hunting, the fish head to Bangladesh in search of a safe haven. That’s where the hits are. Without addressing this issue, Hillsa will not be able to grow in availability.
So far this season, only 2,000 tonnes of hills have been caught, Bijon said. In the past it was 20000-25000 tons. In 2017-18, 60000-70000 tonnes of hills were caught. Bijon is concerned that the fish will become Bangladeshi unless strict control is imposed on Hillsa’s bond.
Bangladesh is taking strict measures to protect the hills. Bangladesh has banned fishing during the breeding season and the capture of Hillsa cubs. There are also mechanisms to enforce the law. Violators face severe punishment.
(Compiled by Aneeb PA)