SHILLONG, Aug 24 - After a 30-day ban, fishmongers in Meghalaya have resumed sale of imported fish preserved in ice. However, the prices of these fish varieties have skyrocketed with no regulations in the market.
The State Government had banned the import of fish on July 23 for an initial period of 15 days. The ban was imposed after traces of formalin, known to be a carcinogenic substance, were found in fish imported from States like Andhra Pradesh.
Peeved with the ban, the wholesalers refused to sell fishes brought from Assam and other States near Meghalaya. Subsequently, the Fisheries department extended the ban by another 15 days.
The ban was lifted on August 22 following the intervention of the Health department and a meeting between Health Minister AL Hek and the fish wholesalers.
But after the ban was lifted, the wholesalers hiked the price of some fishes by nearly 70 to 100 per cent. For example, common varieties like rohu and katla are now selling at Rs 500 per kilogram, which is an increase of about Rs 180 to Rs 250.
In some places like Laitumkhrah, the prices are even higher. �We are procuring the fishes at higher rates,� claimed a local fishmonger.
The markets in Meghalaya are generally unregulated. Prices of items are hiked whimsically by traders with little to no checks conducted by the officials concerned. Therefore, the cost of living in the State, especially in the State Capital, is high.
Meanwhile, the Fisheries and the Health departments have not conducted any fresh checks on the imported fish in the last couple of days. �We will definitely conduct regular tests,� SN Sangma, Food Safety Commissioner, said when asked.
Senior officials said that a meeting was conducted here today in which a decision was taken to conduct fresh tests from Monday next.