‘Meat to be acquired at considerably higher prices’
SRINAGAR: There will be an acute shortage of mutton in the valley in the coming months as the meat imported would be acquired at considerably higher rates. Traders allege ‘harassment’ in New Delhi, which is the main hub from where the majority of mutton is imported to Kashmir.
President, All Kashmir Butcher Union, Khazir Mohammad Regoo told Kashmir reader that the Animal Protection Department in New Dehli was ‘humiliating’ the mutton traders arguing on the fact that they could only transport 40 sheep in one truck according to 1960 Transport Act.
According to Regoo, “Those were the old trucks having a capacity of 40 livestock, but now we have advanced trucks with more capacity.”
“The new advanced double deck trucks have a capacity of 160 sheep but the animal protection department is telling us to transport only 40 sheep as per the act, despite having more space in the truck”.
He said that “they seized three of our trucks earlier which cost us around 24 lakhs and, keeping in view the situation there, we are not importing any livestock now”.
The union president alleged that if they imported livestock from New Delhi, they had to give them bribe. “Everyday around 50 trucks are being imported from Delhi and we have to give them 15-20 lakh per week to allow the trucks,” he said adding “that is the reason we are not importing the livestock from Delhi”. He further said that “as per their law they take Rs 1200 to each sheep above 40 sheep.
If we load more than 40 sheep in one truck then the court takes Rs 1200 per sheep; that means if we 160 sheep, we have to give fine to 120 sheep in a single truck apart from the bribe. And, if we do so, the cost of meat will raise to 700 per kilogram.”
“We used to import 60-70 trucks on daily basis but now we import only 20-25 percent trucks on a single day”, he lamented.
According to the union president, they had appealed the state government several times about the issue “but no action was taken so far”.
“If the government doesn’t take a stern action now, in coming months there will be an acute shortage of mutton which would result in acquiring the meat at considerably higher price”, he believed.
When contacted, Director Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), Nisar Ahmad Wani said that Kashmir was not facing any mutton shortage as they (traders) were “just lying” as they “want to increase the price of mutton”.
“We are in touch with the wholesale dealers and I don’t have any such kind of report,” he maintained.
Nisar said that “if they had any such grievance they should come to me and give me that in writing so that we can file a complaint”. “If there is such kind of grievance, we will resolve that”, he added.
“Nobody came to me with any such kind of grievance till date. So, how could we know about their grievance if they did not come to me and share that”, director CAPD asked.