Pune: The fish lovers in the city are experiencing the pinch as the prices of sea water fish have gone up considerably by 20-30 per cent. The fish sellers in the city claim that they are helpless, as fishermen in the State are being denied subsidy on diesel by the Maharashtra government for past two years.
Around the wholesale market in Ganesh Peth, one will notice that there is an increase in prices of surmai, pomfret, halwa, bangda and Bombay duck or bombil and karli by at least 20 to 30 per cent over the last six months. Digambar Taru, President of Pune Fish Market, told Sakal Times, “We are helpless in controlling the rising fish prices, as the fishermen are selling them at higher prices citing lack of subsidy on diesel from past two years. The prices of several fish, including surmai (Rs 450-500 per kg), prawns (Rs 350-400 per kg), pomfret (Rs 850-900), halwa (Rs 450-500), bangda (Rs 150-160), bombil (Rs120-140), karli (Rs 250-300), have gone up, informed Taru. He said that just six months ago, the prices were 20-30 per cent less. He added that for past two years, since the State government decided to stop the subsidy on diesel, the prices are escalating by 20-30 per cent every six months. He added that since the neighbouring state of Karnataka continues to offer subsidy to fishermen, the prices there are under control.
According to Taru, fish are transported to Pune from different parts of the country including Ratnagiri, Mumbai, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal. He further explained that in June and July, the fishing business totally stops, as it is considered to be the breeding season of fishes. From August to February, fishermen earn maximum profit, because after February, the number of fish goes down.
Taru further explained, due to increasing prices, people who used to consume fish in their meal twice a week are now consuming them only once a week. A large number of people prefer purchasing cheaper fish like bangda, bombil or prawns, because fish like surmai, pomfret and halwa prove costly on their pockets.
Damodar Tandel said, “There are totally 11,000 fishing boats all over Maharashtra. From these, 1,200 boats are ill-legally carrying out fishing business. Till two years ago, the government used to award Rs 80 crore subsidy to these fishermen. But now, the situation has totally changed, as the government is not awarding subsidy to the fishermen. To compensate the loss of subsidy, fishermen tend to sell the catch at higher prices."