Fish trade in Meghalaya resumed on Thursday after the 30-day ban on import of fish was lifted by the state government.
The ban was imposed on July 23 after test reports on fish samples showed the presence of formalin. The state government had warned of imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 10 lakh under Section 59 (iv) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, for non-compliance of the ban.
Initially, the ban was imposed for 15 days and was to end on August 6. However, it was extended by another 15 days after more test reports showed the presence of formalin in fish brought from outside.
Fish trade resumed across the state on Thursday with the fish stalls at ïewduh, the biggest market in the city, wearing a busy look again. People rushed to fish markets while small traders bought fish in bulks to sell at their shops in their localities.
Trucks, ferrying fish from outside the state, unloaded boxes and packets of varieties of fish at a parking lot near the market area at Khlieh ïewduh.
Fish sellers, including those who have stalls at ïewduh, resumed trade after a variety of fish were brought from outside the state.
The president of the Khasi Jaiñtia Fish Wholesaler and Retailer Association, Mitchell Wankhar, said he was happy after the ban was lifted and urged fish lovers not to panic.
He said the government of Andhra Pradesh had also checked fish before transporting their consignments to Meghalaya.
"After the complaint about injecting formalin in fish brought from outside Meghalaya, many people especially fish-sellers faced difficulties," he said.
At ïewduh alone, around 18 tonnes of fish are bought everyday. Meghalaya imports nearly 21,000 tonnes of fish annually from Andhra Pradesh while the hill state produces only around 12,000 tonnes annually.
East Khasi Hills imported nearly 18,444 tonnes of fish during 2017-2018. Fish ponds created under the state aquaculture mission can produce around 8,000 tonnes fish annually.
Formalin, a highly toxic preservative, is injurious to health.