Kolkata: Amid the present Formalin scare which adversely hit sales in fish markets of eastern India, the West Bengal Fisheries Department (WBFD) has launched a massive ‘check drives’ in fish markets of Kolkata and its neighbourhood to ensure that chemical-free fish is sold to consumers.
On Thursday, a team of four officers led by WBFD Deputy Director Aafreen S Alvi conducted surprise checks at Maniktala, Patipukur, Sealdah, Beliaghata and Barasat fish markets and collected samples for tests.
Speaking to News18, Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha said, “There was panic among people in Bengal after formalin-laced fishes were found in Andhra Pradesh and other parts of the Country. I would like to assure that there is nothing to panic as we have taken stringent measures to prevent such ill practices and so far we haven't found any chemicals in fishes.”
“We will send the samples for a test at our laboratory in Pailan. If someone is found guilty, we will take stern action and may cancel their registration,” he added.
Asked if the state government was mulling a ban on fish procurement from Andhra Pradesh, Sinha replied in the negative. “So far we have not found anything suspicious. I would urge people to consume fish without hesitation because our officers are alert and doing their job.”
Last year, the demand for fish in Bengal was 17.84 lakh metric tonnes of which the state produced 17.42 lakh metric tonnes. To meet this annual supply deficit the state imported fish, mainly ‘Rohu’ and ‘Katla’ varieties, from Andhra Pradesh.
Following the scare the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, too, has conducted surprise checks. KMC officials have reportedly collected fish samples from wholesale markets across the city and sent them for forensic tests.