Exclusive

For those who can afford

IFP Editorial: Even the price of imported Sareng is high as compared to other imported fish varieties and the price range was Rs 350 to 450. In organising feasts, only the rich families are able to include Sareng in the menu while most others go for Grass Carp.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 25 Oct 2022, 8:52 pm

IFP Representational Image

This Ningol Chakouba, Sareng lovers are in for a big disappointment. When the government announced that Manipuris would be able to taste fresh Sareng instead of those which came in ice boxes, everyone was happy and expecting a grand Ningol Chakouba this time around. Ningol Chakouba is one the biggest festivals of Manipur and it falls on October 27 this year, the second day of Hiyanggei.

In 2021, one of the special attractions of the annual fish fair was the display of Sareng indigenously bred in Manipur with fingerlings brought from outside. As Sareng is a special delicacy widely preferred in Manipur especially in the valley, the state government had launched Manipur Sareng Project in July last year with an objective to make fresh Sareng available to the people of the State. Last year, fresh Sareng weighing around 1 kg was on display.

ALSO READ: Manipur can taste fresh ‘Sareng’ in coming Ningol Chakouba festival: Balkrisna

Advertisement

On most occasions, Sareng Thongba items had been replaced by Grass Carp mixed sometimes with Ngahei. What we know as Meitei Sareng breeds and flourishes mostly in the state’s riverine systems. So, it is open to interpretation whether this Sareng variety bred in local fish farms could be called Meitei Sareng or not. One thing is sure, though locally produced in fish farms it will never taste like the Meitei Sareng of yore. The real Meitei Sareng sometimes caught from the rivers is available occasionally, but the size is small and the price very high.

One buys it out of necessity for ritual events or if one can afford it. Rich families use to buy it and mix it with imported Sareng during feasts. This Ningol Chakkouba, everyone was thunder-struck when the state Fisheries Directorate announced the price of locally bred Sareng variety. The state has approved Rs 1200 per kg for a Sareng weighing 750 gm to 1 kg and again it will only be available in that weight range as the bigger Sarengs would be held back in the farms for breeding purposes.

The Fisheries minister said that the rate has been fixed after considering the investment incurred in procuring fish feed including small fishes brought in from outside the state and other factors. This is rather too much. It is way beyond the buying capability of poor and lower middle-class families whose palate is no different from the rich and monied families who can afford it. Anyway, locally bred Sareng is going to be another prestige symbol for the rich and for those who like to flaunt their wealth and worth.

ALSO READ: For a bite of fresh Sareng

Advertisement

Even the price of imported Sareng is high as compared to other imported fish varieties and the price range was Rs 350 to 450. In organising feasts, only the rich families are able to include Sareng in the menu while most others go for Grass Carp.

If one wants to order it from the local catering agencies, we have to dole out Rs 100 extra for Sareng besides the usual rate per plate. For so many years, Manipuris had grown accustomed to ice-packed Sareng imported from outside the state. And who knows what preservatives are used to keep them in semi-fresh condition. During the summer days, the imported Sareng began to smell and many avoid it during feasts or at homes.

Yet, imported Sareng is brought in from outside in truckloads to the state along with Rohu and other fish varieties to bridge the gap between demand and supply for fish. Project Sareng was also one of the pet projects of Chief Minister N Biren Singh. To reduce the import of the fish from outside the state, rearing of Sareng had started and has been increasing under the guidance and support from the department of fisheries, while the state government had also committed 50 per cent subsidy while rearing Sareng, according to the fish production. We wonder, whether the subsidy had been taken into consideration while fixing the Sareng rate?

EDITORIAL

Advertisement

First published:

Tags:

fish fairNingol ChakoubaSarengmanipur state fishsareng price

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

Advertisement

Top Stories

Loading data...
Advertisement

IFP Exclusive

Loading data...
Advertisement

Feedback

Have a complaint, a suggestion or just some feedback about our content? Please write to onlineifp@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to address it.