BARIPADA: Report of formalin content in fish sourced from Andhra Pradesh has spread panic among residents of Mayurbhanj district. Sale of fish has been affected at markets in Baripada, Udala, Karanjia, Jashipur and Rairangpur. With surge in price of vegetables, fish has been a preferred food item for locals. However, reports of presence of formalin in the fish, which can cause diseases like cancer, has scared people and also affected the business.
In Baripada, only 20 out of 35 fish stalls were open on Sunday. Susanta Singh, a fish trader of Chipat-Astia ward in Baripada municipality, said traders like him, owing to poor supply of local fish, are forced to hike prices. He said price of brackish water fish like hilsa have gone up to `450- `500 per kg.
Towns in the district, including Baripada, get around 3-4 truck loads of fish from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh every week. However, no action has been taken by the district administration to check the quality of fish even after directions by the State Government, sources said.
Meanwhile, District Fishery Officer (DFO) Surendra Nath Ghorai said there has been a considerable decline in supply of fish from Andhra Pradesh to the district. “The wholesalers purchase fish from Maina at West Bengal”, he said. The DFO, however, admitted that the presence of formalin in fish from Andhra Pradesh is a matter of concern and said that surprise checks will be conducted once necessary kits are received by the Fishery department in the district.