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Formalin scare: Fish sale dips in Odisha

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Cuttack/Berhampur/Bhubaneswar: The report of formalin content detected in fish samples in Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur hugely affected the sale of fishes in local fish markets across Odisha.

Amidst price rise of vegetables, the presence of formaldehyde, which can cause diseases like cancer, in fishes sourced from Andhra Pradesh and marine water fishes has created panic among the consumers and hit the fish business in Odisha towns of Berhampur, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Baripada and Keonjhar.

According to reports from several areas of the State, fish sale fell by 50% in silk city Berhampur, 75% in Koraput and 60% in Cuttack.

Around 15-20 tonne fishes were imported from Andhra Pradesh to Berhampur daily for sale. After the fishes sourced from Andhra were banned in Assam due to use of formalin chemical, the import of fishes from the neighbouring State to Berhampur started declining.

Similarly, the fish sale reduced in Koraput, which earlier registered 20 tonne fish sale per week. Due to formalin scare, less than 5 tonne fishes are found sold in the markets in the tribal district.

Earlier, 4- quintal fishes were sold in Kenojhar town of Odisha. Now, the sale dropped to only 5-7 quintal.

In Cuttack, on an average 12 truck fishes was imported per day. However, the quantity has reduced to 5 trucks. Only the freshwater fishes from Naraj, Mundali and Jobra anicut are meeting the demand of people in the city.

The fish business has been dropped by 60% in Cuttack. People do not prefer to buy the fishes sourced from Andhra Pradesh. The sale of prawn has also been affected. The marine fishes like pomfret and hilsa are not available in the fish market, said a local fish seller.

Around 7 tonne fishes used to be imported from various places on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights to the fish mandi. However, the import of fishes fell to two tonne in the past one week, said a fish shop owner Ishwar Chandra Tarai at Khan Nagar fish mandi in Cuttack.

The condition is similar in Bhubaneswar too. The consumers, who were preferring fishes daily or weekly twice in their food items, opt to avoid fishes these days from the market. The crowd in the fish markets located in Unit IV, Chandrasekharpur and even on outskirts of the city goes down.