August 15, 2022, 10:29 am

Staff Correspondent

2022-06-27 17:37:42 BdST

Shariatpur fish traders see huge prospects as Padma Bridge opens

Fish traders of Shariatpur, one of the two districts connected by the Padma Bridge, are expecting that their business will boom as the much-awaited bridge opened to traffic on Sunday.

The fisheries owners expect new business opportunities with the inauguration of the country’s longest bridge.

With the opening of the Padma Bridge, a dramatic change will take place in the communication system of the entire southern region including Shariatpur.

The door of potential for the fisheries sector in Shariatpur district, one of the largest fish producers in the country, will be opened, said local traders and fishermen.

Fish traders expect that now it will be possible to sell fish worth Tk 500 to Tk 600 crore a year in Dhaka markets.

Different fish including hilsa netted from the point of Suresh of the Padma River can be easily sent to at least 40 districts in the country including the capital.

This will not only benefit the existing fish producers economically but will also create many new entrepreneurs and huge employment opportunities.

According to the District Fisheries Department, there are 15,182 fish farms in 2,626 hectares of land in the district.

Fish are transported by road from six upazilas of the district to different parts of the country including Dhaka.

Earlier, traders had to wait a long time at the ferry terminal to reach Dhaka from Shariatpur. The fish used to rot while waiting. But with the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, there will be a radical change in the fish business. The fish will reach the Dhaka markets in a very short time which will save time and cost, said local traders.

Sarwar Hossain, a fish farmer in Naria Upazila, said that they have to wait for hours at the ferry terminal that caused huge sufferings and financial loss.

“Not only that, due to these difficulties, we could not reach fish in markets in Dhaka timely. With the opening of the Padma Bridge, we will be able to reach Dhaka very easily,” he hopes.

Fish trader Zillur Rahman said, “We used to send fish from Shariatpur to Dhaka by trucks  using a certain quantity of ice to preserve those. If the fish could not reach Dhaka within the stipulated time, they do not get good price. With the opening of the Padma Bridge, this problem will no longer exist,” added Rahman.

Imran Hossain Babu, a fish seller at Sureshwar Ghat, said as the communication system was not good, it was difficult to send fish to the capital. “But now, we will be able to capture the Dhaka markets very easily."

The district produces 28,543 metric tons of fish in hatcheries, 5,500 metric tons of hilsa and 2,953 metric tons of other river fish. About 50,000 people are involved in fish production.

Pranab Kumar Karmakar, officer of Shariatpur District Fisheries  said, "Currently, fish worth around Tk 3.5 billion is produced in the district."

Fish traders were unable to reach the big fish markets due to lack of good communication system. As the Padma Bridge has opened, the fate of the fish traders of this region will also smile,” the officer added.

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