December 4, 2023, 6:45 am

Staff Correspondent

2022-09-21 08:49:41 BdST

High court’s directive sought to ban export of Hilsa to India

A lawyer on Tuesday filed a writ petition seeking the High Court’s directive to authorities concerned to permanently ban the export of hilsa fish to neighbouring India.

Supreme Court Advocate Md Mahmudul Hasan filed petition saying that low-priced export of hilsa to India has made the national fish pricier in Bangladesh.

The writ petition also sought issuance of a rule as to why the inaction of the authorities concerned in halting the export of hilsa to India at a low price should not be declared illegal.

Besides, the writ sought HC’s directions on the Tourism Corporation to work on the development of hilsa-centric tourism.

Commerce secretary, Fisheries and Livestock secretary, Foreign Secretary, Civil Aviation and Tourism secretary, National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairperson, office of Chief Controller of Imports and Exports and Tourism Corporation chairperson were made respondents to the writ petition.

On September 11, the same SC lawyer served a legal notice on the government to halt export of hilsa, a sought-after fish, to India in next seven days. 

According to the constitution of Bangladesh, ensuring food security for the public is one of the main duties of the government. On the other hand, it is the constitutional duty of the respondents to always act in the interests of the people, said the petitioner.

By exporting hilsa to India at a lower price than in the domestic market, those concerned, including the Commerce Ministry, have violated the country's constitution, stated in the writ.

They have hampered the food security and acted against the interest of the people.

According to export policy 2021-24, hilsa fish is not a freely exportable product, it added.

Poor people in the country cannot think of buying hilsa from River Padma while middle class people also struggle due to its high price as a limited amount of fish can be harvested from there.

In Bangladesh markets hilsa, known as silver pride of Bangladesh, is being sold at Tk 1,600 to 1,800 per kg, while it is exported to India at $ 10 per kg (Tk 950), said the writ.

The commerce ministry has allowed the export of hilsa to India ignoring the public interest, said the SC lawyer.

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