Srinagar: Forget mutton, camel meat is tickling taste buds in Kashmir.
Demand for camel meat has witnessed an increase amid the ongoing mutton shortage in the Kashmir valley. Several mutton retailers are presently selling camel meat even as the deadlock between the dealers and government has not ended to date.
“Mutton retailers had earlier started selling chicken due to mutton shortage. And now I bought camel meat from a retailer at Natipora. I also noticed another retailer selling the same at Mehjoor Nagar, Batamaloo, Parimpora and a few other places in the city. Several people are scared to buy chicken due to bird flu and camel meat has come across as a good alternative to mutton,” said Omar Bhat, a customer.
Interestingly, several sellers have taken to social media to sell came camel meat.
Javed Ahmad, a mutton retailer from Kakpora in South Kashmir, said camel meat was selling like hotcakes and they had of late started attracting customers from Srinagar city as well.
“We do not slaughter camels every day but notify on Facebook about the dates. Earlier, we would only get customers from Kakpora and adjoining areas in Pulwama district only but now many people from Srinagar call us if camel meat is available or not. As mutton is not available freely especially in Srinagar, the demand for camel meat has increased,” he said.
Javed said people also wanted to taste something different due to which camel meat had become popular.
“Nowadays people watch travel and cooking shows on the Internet and see how camel meat is relished in Muslim countries. They want to taste something different. Also, due to mutton shortage, people are missing red meat,” he said.
He said camels were mostly procured from Rajasthan and several mutton retailers were presently mulling to sell this meat permanently.
Meanwhile, there are no signs of an ending of deadlock between the mutton wholesalers and government.
Though the government had proposed to hike the present mutton retail rate from Rs. 480 to Rs. 515, general secretary All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association Mehraj-u-din Ganai said the same was still not acceptable.
“We have already made it clear that the present rate is not acceptable. The government should propose realistic rates,” Ganai told The Kashmir Monitor.
Pertinently, a meeting held on Saturday last between senior government officials and mutton sellers to break the deadlock over rates had remained inconclusive.