Srinagar: Following the revised rate of mutton announced by the Divisional Administration Kashmir, meat shops in several areas of Srinagar were seen closed on Thursday.
Mutton dealers have urged the government to review the rates, calling them too low, but a senior government official on Thursday said that the rate will not be revised.
The Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Bashir Ahmad Khan, told Kashmir Reader that the price of mutton has been fixed at Rs 480 per kg and anyone who is selling beyond it is a violator of rules.
“We have registered more than 45 FIRs in the past six days and some shops have been sealed in some areas of Kashmir,” he said.
Khan said that due legal action is also being taken against the violators.
“The impact of FIRs and raids can be seen in downtown Srinagar as many meat shops have been closed,” he said.
Khan said meat sellers were being misled by some trade unions and the department will also initiate action against these unions.
“We urge people to help us enforce the rate list which was fixed after proper consideration of all aspects. People should register a complaint with the nearest police station against violators,” he said.
Khan said that the rate will be revised after one year and till then no change can be made.
The General Secretary, All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association, Mehraj-ud-Din Ganai told Kashmir Reader that the government has blindly fixed the rates of mutton without considering genuine demands of traders.
Ganai called it injustice with thousands of the families in Kashmir which are directly and indirectly associated with the business.
“If shops are closed because of government action, traders will be compelled to sell the meat at low prices, which they cannot afford to do,” he said.
“The last time the rates of mutton were fixed by the government was in the year 2016, at Rs 400 a kg. After more than 5 years the administration has given an increment of only Rs 80,” Ganai said.
He said that as per the standard guidelines, the increment should have been 10 to 15 percent after every year.
“We are getting 556 as a wholesale rate, so how will we sell at 480? We have talked to the mutton dealers to provide us mutton as per government rates and only when they provide us at that rate can we start selling. Till that time shops will remain closed as we cannot suffer losses and humiliate ourselves,” Ganai said.
Most of the mutton consumed in Kashmir comes from outside Jammu and Kashmir, Ganai added.
“We had formulated a proposal as per rates in the mandis in other states. They can check to verify our claims,” he said.
The shut mutton shops have left common people without access to meat. “Since morning I am searching for meat and I have visited several areas of Srinagar, but to no avail,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, a resident of Bemina.
Shakeel Banoo, a resident of Natipora, told Kashmir Reader that her daughter had just given birth to a child and it is advisable for her to eat fresh meat every day.