SRINAGAR — The impasse between the administration and meat dealers over meat prices in Kashmir Valley is likely to end as the trade body Kashmir Economic Alliance’s ‘fact-finding’ committee covering meat prices in outside markets has submitted its report to the authorities.
Led by Farooq Ahmed Dar, Convener of the Committee and Co-Chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, the members of the Committee on Monday submitted the report to the Director, Department of Civil Supply, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and Divisional Administration. Bi-lingual 18-page report, compiled in Urdu and English, features the prices of meat in Delhi, Rajasthan, Ambala and Amritsar markets.
Sources said that the fact-finding Committee in its report has said that meat retail dealers procure Grade (A) meat for Rs. 518 per kilogram and it is up to the government to add some profit to this amount for these retailers.
Although the price includes the profits of the wholesalers and commission agents of Delhi, the profits of the butchers are not included in the report. The report said that members have followed proper criteria before fixing the rate of the meat.
The report states that Rajasthan’s Sekar Mandi has the best live cattle available, with a very good breed, while Amritsar has sheep and goats of lower quality. According to the report, the average price of meat from Rajasthan Mandi to Kashmir reaches the valley at Rs. 541 per kilogram, while the average price of meat from Delhi Mandi to the valley reaches at Rs. 527. The price of meat from Ambala to the Valley is estimated at Rs. 516. The average price of meat from Amritsar to Kashmir has been fixed at Rs. 490.
Taking into account the prices of meat in all the four markets, the Fact Finding Committee has presented a break-up of the price of meat at Rs. 518.5 per kilogram. It has been mentioned that the same committee members in outside mandis participated in fake bids to find out the real facts, met market traders, discussed with Meat Union officials, of Delhi, Ambala, Rajasthan and Amritsar.
The fact-finding committee in its report also made recommendations and suggestions to the authorities, including regulating meat industry, raising issues with the concerned States to prevent illegal tax collection outside and mutton dealers have been urged to adopt procedures in the interest of consumers.
Sources said that there are indications that the four-month standoff between the administration and the mutton dealers will come to an end once the administration will take a call on this report.
There has been a shortage of meat in the Valley from the past two weeks and most butchers have closed their shops as a mark of protest.
Administration, pertinently, has fixed the retail price of meat in the Valley at 480 per kilogram and the wholesale price at Rs. 450, after which there was a tussle over these rates. Authorities cracked down on butchers violating government prices.
Following the intervention of the Kashmir Economic Alliance, the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, on the instructions of the divisional administration dispatched a team to ascertain prices in outside Mandis, while a team from the Kashmir Economic Alliance, including Traders and Journalists that visited the four mandis from December 20 to 28. These mandis include Ghazipur Delhi, Sikar Rajasthan, Ambala and Amritsar.