Srinagar: Mutton sellers have gone on undeclared strike after the government fixed the meat rate at Rs. 480 per kilo in Kashmir.
For the past many days, the mutton shops have remained shut as sellers are refusing to sell meat at government fixed rates.
“I have not opened my shop for the past 10 days as my ‘kothdaar’ (wholesaler) told me that he cannot provide me sheep as per the rates fixed by the government. And if I sell mutton at Rs. 600 per kilo, I will be detained or my shop will be sealed. We have no option but to go on strike even though the retailers association has not given a strike call. It is a kind of forced strike” said Mohammad Yasin, a mutton seller from the old city.
Elsewhere in the city, residents too were found complaining that mutton shops were shut.
“For the past many days, mutton shops have remained shut. I came to know that few of them secretly sell meat. The government should also ensure that the meat is available,” said Imtiyaz, a resident of uptown Rawalpora.
Mutton Retailers’ Association, however, maintained that they had not called for a strike and sellers by and large preferred to keep shops shut fearing raids by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) department
General Secretary of All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association (AKWMDA) Mehraj-ud-Din said there were no fresh supplies due to the government fixed rates.
“Even in Delhi, mutton is sold at Rs. 600 per kilo in retail. When we told our suppliers about the rates fixed here, they refused to sell sheep. As a result, there is no supply. We fear if the situation continues it will result in black marketing. We do not want that to happen. But the rates fixed by the government are not reasonable,” he said.
An official of the FCSCA said action against the erring mutton dealers will continue.
“The price has been fixed and mutton has to be sold at Rs. 480 per kilo in the markets. We will continue to act tough against the violators. The public should cooperate and report if anyone is selling mutton at higher rates,” the official said.