Powerful journalism on tap - Download The Kashmir Monitor app.

Mutton crisis: Kashmir retailers mull another coordination committee to break stalemate

File Photo

Srinagar: Even as the talks between the government and mutton dealers to fix retail rates remained inconclusive, the retailors are now mulling to form another coordination committee to end the stalemate.

Though a fact-finding team of traders, mutton dealers and civil society members had earlier submitted its report to the government after touring ‘mandis’ outside Jammu and Kashmir, the continuation of the deadlock has caused divisions among the retailors.

While the consumers are blaming both the government and retailers for the crisis, the mutton dealers are blaming the administration for the deadlock.

“We are in the process of forming a coordination committee of all associations of mutton dealers that will check the situation on ground to find out who is misleading the government. The entire industry has become crippled and we are suffering badly. The rates proposed by the government are unacceptable to us,” All J&K Mutton Dealers president Khazir Mohammad Regoo told The Kashmir Monitor.

The mutton crisis has been lingering for the past few months after the government fixed the retail rate at Rs.480 per kilo.

Earlier, a 15 member fact-finding team of traders, mutton dealers and civil society members had submitted its report to the government following which the authorities proposed Rs.515 per kg. However, the offer was rejected by the butchers.

While the government rate is still Rs. 480, the retailors are presently on an indefinite strike. However, few retailers have been found selling mutton at Rs. 600 or more amid sealing of shops by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) officials.

Pertinently, a meeting held on Saturday last between senior government officials and mutton sellers to break the deadlock over rates had remained inconclusive.

A mutton dealer who attended the meeting said the rate proposed by the Divisional Administration was ‘unrealistic’ and that their representatives had failed them.

“We are now forming a new coordination committee as the representatives of mutton dealers have failed to make the government understand the ground situation. The officials proposed a rate of Rs. 515 that leaves us only with a profit of Rs. 20. The rates are unrealistic as mutton is being sold in Jammu for Rs 550 and Rs 650 in Delhi. Now petrol and diesel prices have increased too and these rates are unacceptable,” he said.

General secretary All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association Mehraj-u-din Ganai said It was not possible to sell good quality mutton for Rs. 480.

“We have already made it clear that the present rate is not acceptable. The government should propose realistic rates. Good quality mutton cannot be sold for Rs. 480,” Ganai told The Kashmir Monitor.

Meanwhile, Regoo said they will now approach Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha as the Divisional Administration had failed to address their demands.

“We have decided now to plead our case directly before the Lieutenant Governor as all other alternatives have been exhausted….departmental, district as well as divisional administration has failed to address our grievances,” he said.