Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday urged his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar to take steps to restore the fish trade involving the Andhra supplies in Bihar, in the larger interest of farmers and all those engaged in fisheries activity.
Last week Bihar government announced a ban, initially for 15 days, on fish from AP following the detection of high content of formalin and heavy metals like lead and cadmium in fish samples collected from 10 different locations within Patna Municipal Corporation area in October last year.
In a letter addressed to the Bihar chief minister, Naidu stated that the fish farmers associations of his state has represented to his government that their fish trade in Bihar was badly affected due to misapprehensions on alleged use of formalin in the fish supplies. Naidu requested the Bihar government to depute a technical team to undertake quality checks to clear these apprehensions.
Bihar is the second state to impose a ban on Andhra fish after a similar action was initiated last year by the Assam government on the grounds that the fish from Andhra Pradesh contained formalin, which was allegedly being used to increase the shelf life of fish.
"The aquaculture farmers and merchants are strongly denying the above allegations stating that it was nothing but defaming the AP state fish supplies and ultimately to disturb the good fish trade relations between the two states," chief minister Naidu said in this letter.
In July last year Assam had imposed a temporary ban on fish supplies from AP after the lab tests reportedly found the presence of this carcinogenic chemical in fish. AP government is worried over these restrictions as it fears an adverse impact on one of the most promising economic activities in the state.
AP is touted to be the largest producer of fish in the country. Fish production in the state stood at 3.5 million tonnes in 2017-18, contributing 7.4 per cent to the state's gross domestic product (GSDP), according to the government data.
Naidu informed Nitish Kumar that the fish traders had requested to invite a team of officers from Bihar for random and surprising inspections at fish packing sheds for any type of quality check including formalin test and his government would extend all support for such initiative.