Bangladeshi hilsa may

Dhaka, July 9:

The famous hilsa fish of Bangladesh, a favourite especially in West Bengal, Orissa and the north-eastern states, may tickle Indian palates again.

Following a domestic shortage — caused partly by rivers being in spate — and a price rise in the local markets, Bangladesh recently banned hilsa exports to India, a major item in bilateral trade but also a favourite among millions here.

But the ban led to so much discontent across the border that the Indian government reportedly threatened to retaliate and ban export of rice to Bangladesh — an essential staple in this country.

Now Bangladesh’s foreign secretary Touhid Hussain has said the commerce and fisheries ministries are reviewing the ban on export of hilsa to India. The ban is being reviewed as part of the improving bilateral relations, foreign ministry officials said as they prepared for talks with a visiting Indian Railways team to finalise details of the first-ever Dhaka-Kolkata train service scheduled to begin next month.

Hilsa is found in abundance in the rivers of Bangladesh, with the hilsa that lives in the Padma river being especially famous for its taste. A significant percentage of the catch was being exported to India before the ban.