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Mutton crisis far from over: Consumers complain retailers flout government rates

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Srinagar:  Mutton crisis is far from over despite the government and retailers agreeing to the new rates.

While few retailers were found selling meat at the government fixed rate of Rs.535 per kg, consumers elsewhere complained that mutton was being sold at higher rates.

“On Wednesday evening, the news came that the stand-off between the government dealers and mutton, sellers have ended. However, when I went to the market yesterday, no butcher in the vicinity was open. Today also, I could not find any shops open even though there are four to five butchers not far away from my home. However, later I managed to find one butcher 3-4 km away from home who was selling mutton at the government fixed rates,” said Tariq Ahmad, a resident of uptown Rawalpora.

However, people from other parts were found complaining that several retailers were selling mutton at higher rates. Netizens had also taken to social media with complaints that mutton was being sold for Rs. 600 per kilo.

“Several butchers are selling meat – some openly and others at home for Rs.600. Some are selling for higher rates and they tell customers that it is good quality mutton. Unfortunately, the mutton crisis is far from over,” said Sajjad Dar, a local.

All J&K Mutton Dealers president Khazir Mohammad Regoo blamed the wholesalers for the shortage of mutton in the markets.

“Shops will open only if the meat is available. The wholesalers had assured to provide meat at government fixed rates but so far they are not supplying as per the market requirement. On top of that, few wholesalers are selling meat at their homes or only giving it to their agents. We have brought the same to the notice of the administration,” Regoo told The Kashmir Monitor.

However, he said they had been assured by the government that adequate supplies would reach the markets in a day or two.

“We have been assured by the government that in a day or two fresh supplies will come. If wholesalers sell us at the fixed rates, we too will be able to sell at the rates fixed by the government. It will take two-three days to streamline things. We are hopeful that by next week, all (butcher) shops will open if we get the stock from the wholesalers,” he said.

All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association general secretary Mehraj-ud-din Ganai too said fresh supplies would arrive during the next few days after which they would be able to sell mutton as per the market requirements.

After fixing the retail rate of mutton at Rs. 490 and Rs. 535 per kg (with and without ‘mocha’) offal respectively, the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA)  has already warned sellers of strict action including lodging of FIR and sealing of shops in case of violations of the order.