SRINAGAR: With no adherence of government set rate of Rs 310 per kg mutton in the city markets mutton sellers have resorted to surging of price at will offering mutton at Rs 340 to Rs 360 to consumers.
While mutton sellers say that they are completed to sell the commodity at Rs 340 saying any rate less than this will be a loss making to them, the officials of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) department counter this saying that the rate of 310 has been set, ensuring profit to the retailers,
All this has left the consumer confused who says that government set rates have never been adhered by the butchers.
“If we tell any butcher about the governments et rates, they respond with arrogance,” said Mohammad Subhaan, a resident of Dalgate adding that this has to be changed and the government has to come up with a strategy where in butchers are made tofollow the price.
Deputy Director, Supplies, Sajid Naqash told Kashmir Reader that they are not showing any leniency towards butchers, saying that consumers have to come forward to help tame the rates.
“Government has set its rate at Rs 310 and mutton sellers have to adhere to it. These rates where set after every stakeholder was taken on board and we have kept a provision for profit for every intermediary in this trade, including the retailer” he said.
However consumers say that with such gross violation in rates, the CAPD should act tough
“It seems government is sloppy in really acting tough and all of this seems to be deliberately, as there is mass violation by the butchers in adhering to the rates” said Muhammad Amin Beigh a local from LalBazar, adding that CAPD have failed in devising a strategy where in consumers could in practical see that their rates are followed.
However, Naqash said that after receiving any complain they rush to the spot and take necessary action.
“It’s a two way process, consumers have to know their rights, they need to inform us so that e can tackle this problem. In last 20 days we have registered seven FIRs against mutton sellers and also fined many other shop keepers. We want cooperation from people,” Naqash said.
The mutton sellers union representatives say that under the present circumstances it is difficult to sell the mutton on government set rate list.
“How could government expect us to sell mutton at Rs 310 when we purchase it at Rs 320 from dealers? Why doesn’t government ask these dealers? Why they are harassing and acting tough on the retail front,” Khazir Mohammad Rigoo, Kashmir Butchers Union President told Kashmir Reader.
Rigoo said that in past few days around 40 shop keepers have been arrested by police for selling meat at exorbitant rates and many other penalized and fined by the CAPD department.
Naqash also affirmed police action was taken and many shop keepers including mutton sellers were fined for not selling mutton at government set rates.
“We do not have powers to arrest, but police has made arrests on this front and 21 have been arrested so far,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rigoo said that they are ready to sell mutton on the recent government set rates provided they are provided less than Rs 320.
In Kashmir, more than 6,000 sheep and goats are consumed daily, of which majority are being imported from outside the state.
The Kashmir Valley gets its most of the mutton supply, generally imported, from northern Indian sheep mandis of neighbouring Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and UP.