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Vaccine do, Hilsa lo: Is Bangladesh delaying fish export over short supply of Covid jabs from India?

Has Bangladesh decided to restrict the export of West Bengal’s favourite fish – Hilsa – over delays in the supply of Covid vaccines? Read to find out.

File photo of Hilsa

File photo of Hilsa (Photo Credits: Getty Images)

India has a huge fan base for the delectable Hilsa fish, a major import from Bangladesh. However, if sources are to be believed, Bangladesh has decided to take on the short supply of Covid vaccines from India by hitting where it hurts the most for a food-loving country like ours: Bangladesh is restricting the export of Hilsa to India, according to Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP).

Over 14 lakh people from Bangladesh have been administered India-made vaccines and the country has been informed that it is not possible to send any more jabs for now.

Sources in Bangladesh suggest that the anger over no delivery of vaccines has snowballed into restricting Bengal’s favourite fish, Hilsa.

READ: Hilsa goes missing from Bengal’s menu | India Today Insight

For quite some time now, there has been a blanket ban on import of Hilsa into the country. Despite the curbs, the Sheikh Hasina government gave special permission to import 2 tons of Hilsa into the country to help Bengal celebrate Jamai Sashti (a festival in Bengal) last year.

This year, however, that did not happen. Bengalis did not get to relish Hilsa from Padma (Ganga is called in Bangladesh) this year.

Some experts say that it would be wrong to infer that the Hilsa was not sent to India because of vaccines and that relations between the two nations are anyway not conducive to Hilsa diplomacy.

When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had visited Dhaka to sign a border agreement, she had jokingly asked Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina why there were so many varieties of Hilsa items in the menu.

Hasina had said: “As soon as water level rises in Teesta, the Hilsa would be able to swim across to Bengal anyway.”

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India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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