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Andhra team in State after fish import ban
Rituraj Borthakur
 GUWAHATI, July 13 - Shaken by the 10-day ban imposed on imported fish by Assam government after detection of formalin in some consignments, a three-member team picked by the Government of Andhra Pradesh – the largest exporter of fish to the State – has arrived in the State on a fact-finding mission.

They have brought along sophisticated instruments to conduct tests on imported fishes on spot.

The Andhra team comprises Principal of State Institute of Fisheries Technology (Kakinada) and Additional Director of Fisheries P Koteswara Rao, Food Safety Officer (Machilipatnam) G Venkateswara Rao and Assistant Director (Animal Husbandry) Dr G Malleswara Rao.

The team today interacted with top fishery and other government officials concerned here.

“The team will discuss with officials of the departments concerned and visit select markets today and tomorrow to see the actual field situation. They have brought along instruments to test the fish on spot,” official sources said.

“The matter has been discussed at the highest level in Andhra Pradesh. The team has assured us all help to ensure hygienic fish is supplied to the consumers. In fact, they have already started packing their fish in boxes with special stickers. Till the stickers are opened, Andhra Pradesh government will take full responsibility of the fish quality,” a source privy to the discussions held today said.

Today, the team visited the Betkuchi fish market. Tomorrow, the team will hold a discussion with the State Fishery Minister.

The Director of the State fishery department has written to the health department, Secretary (food and drug administration, Kamrup Metro DC, veterinary director and fish traders’ associations to depute representatives to accompany the team.

Meanwhile, in view of the 10-day ban on storage, distribution and sale of fish, including crustaceans brought from outside, the Director of Fisheries has written to all the District Fishery Development Officers to send an action taken report on or before July 17.

The district fishery officers have been directed to communicate and coordinate with the district administration, health officials, food safety officials and municipal authorities for necessary action and effectiveness of the ban.

The district fishery officers also have been asked to give a report every weekend after July 17 “till corrective measures are taken”, official sources said.

Over 10,000 tonnes of fish are imported to the State annually, and 90 per cent of it comes from Andhra Pradesh.

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