Bihu spirits high as people throng fish markets on uruka

GUWAHATI: The fish markets of Assam were chock-a-block from the wee hours of Wednesday as people braved the winter chill and inflated prices to happily take home the essentials for the uruka feast.

From moderate to huge, there were fish of various sizes, some as heavy as 45 to 50 kg or more, and finding takers during the day.

The Bihu mood could be gauged from the scene at Uzanbazar, one of the oldest fish markets of Assam, where hundreds of sellers flaunted their catch from rivers and nearby fisheries/wetlands to woo buyers from the city’s outskirts, while some had even dropped by from neighbouring Meghalaya.

“Thankfully, sales have unexpectedly been better than last year (when the CAA movement had a bearing on the Bihu mood and sales). Last year was disastrous as the COVID lockdown hit our livelihoods hard,” said a fish seller at the Uzanbazar market.

While there was a wide variety of fish spread out on the tarpaulins across various sections arranged specially for the uruka sales, chitol outnumbered the rest.

“I have run out of chitol stock by noon itself. Most of the varieties ranged between 5kg and 6kg and sold for Rs 800-900 per kg. Now I have a limited stock of bhokua (catla) fish,” another seller said.

Curd/cream and traditional delicacy sellers from places like Hajo and Bezera in Kamrup district were also camping on the fringes of the fish market from as early as 3 to 4am to convince buyers to take home the items for breakfast the next morning.

Some petty vegetable sellers also brought along ducks, another Bihu specialty, for sale as well.

“The ambience this time is a little different. It’s like getting all the Bhogali special items in one place. It saves time apart from the rare chance to buy fresh items from rural areas,” said a resident of the locality.

In other markets, be it Ganeshguri, Kolongpar (Narangi) or Beltola, the footfalls were lower in the morning but picked up as the day matured.

Meanwhile, in a move to lessen the burden of high prices, FISHFED has reportedly procured about 5000kg from cooperative societies for sale through its outlets at discounted rates.

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