Mutton crisis deepens in Kashmir; dealers claim substandard meat sold at Rs 480 per kilo
Mutton crisis has deepened after retailors claim that the substandard meat with offal was being sold at Rs.480 per kilo in the valley.
The new development comes at a time when both government and dealers are sending separate teams to outside mandis to verify the rates of sheep and goat.
“They are selling low quality and substandard mutton for Rs. 480 per kilo and they sell it with offal (mocha). On top of that, others sell meat for Rs.480 only when the officials of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) visit their shops for inspection. When I am not getting good quality meat for this rate, how can I sell it at this price?” All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association (AKWMDA) president Mehraj-ud-Din told The Kashmir Monitor.
Though the government had fixed Rs. 480 per kilo the retail price of mutton, the dealers have by and large refused to sell meat at these rates. Now, both mutton dealers and government are sending separate teams to mandis outside the Valley.
“Our team that will comprise heads of the traders’ bodies and members of civil society will most likely depart from here on Thursday. We will check the rates at mandis and then submit a report to the government,” said Mehraj-ud-Din.
He admitted that consumers were the worst sufferers amid the crisis. “We are aware that consumers are the worst sufferers as meat is either being sold secretly at homes or not of good quality. We too want an end to black-marketing but the government should fix genuine rates,” he said.
A separate government team too is visiting the outside mandis shortly even as the FCSCA officials maintained that the visit had got nothing to with revision of mutton rates.
“Consequent upon discussions with the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, officers are hereby deputed to visit wholesale livestock mandis of Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana to ascertain the factual position about livestock rates, mutton rates and incidental charges thereof. The committee will also approach the relevant government departments to get the requisite information officially signed from them also. Besides it will approach the wholesale traders and commission agents to get the monthly and yearly rate structure trends from them,” read an FCSCA order.
While the order has directed the concerned officials to submit its report within a week, customers continue to bear the brunt.
Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA) president Aijaz Shahdhar said the general public was facing lots of problems and the government should take proactive steps to resolve the crisis.
“Both traders and people at large are worried and are telling us to intervene so that the matter is resolved. After fixing the price, most of the butcher shops are closed while some black sheep are selling meat at higher prices in their houses. We hope that the government committee immediately submits its report so that this stalemate is resolved,” he said.