Mutton seller in Kashmir
Representational Image

SRINAGAR — The valley of Kashmir is facing a shortage of meat, which many believe is artificial, in the holy month of Ramadhan as there is a deadlock between the Union territory administration and the mutton dealers over the prices.

On the one hand, the Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association says that the shortage exists because of the callous attitude of the administration and they can’t continue with the trade in the present circumstances.

However, on the other hand, the authorities have been acting against the butchers against whom there are complaints of overpricing or found selling at arbitrary prices during market checking.

In the meantime, many meat sellers’ shops have also been sealed by the authorities after their shops were found to be insanitary and unhygienic, with no consideration of cleanliness.

Shortage of meat in Kashmir not artificial in nature: Mutton Dealers Association

All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association on Thursday contended that the shortage of meat was a result of the policies of the UT administration and it was in no way artificial but real.

The Association said that there are grievances that need to be addressed amicably, however, the attitude of the administration has been forcing people associated with the trade to close down their shops.

Mehrajuddin, a senior member of the All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association, told a Srinagar based news agency Kashmir News Trust that shortage of the meat presently in Valley has a lot to do with the callous attitude of the administration. He said the sealing of meat shops can’t be justified at a time when there is too much inflation.

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“The fuel prices have gone up. Prices of domestic gas cylinders are touching the sky. When there is a hike in every product, how can you expect mutton dealers and butchers selling the meat at the constant rate,” he questioned.

“When you start sealing the meat shops without any reason, it hits the trade. Others take a cue and refrain from buying and selling the meat to the consumers at low prices,” he said.

Mehrajuddin said that the administration was supposed to take a review meeting on rate fixation but it didn’t take stakeholders on board and unilaterally issued an order to thrust rates on the butchers.

“There was no review meeting on rate fixation that was scheduled to take place on March 18 last month. Let the administration take the stakeholders on board before imposing any fixed rate. Meat dealers can’t run their business on losses,” he said, adding that the supply of meat to Valley is also low due to the ongoing Navratri.

KEA asks government to end the deadlock with mutton dealers

Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) has expressed concern over the ‘artificial’ shortage of meat in the Valley during the holy month of Ramadhan and advised the stakeholders to resolve the issue amicably.

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During a press conference in Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Dar, co-chairman KEA, said that people in the valley consume more meat during Ramadhan, however, due to the shortage of meat, citizens face difficulties. Farooq Ahmad Dar asked the administration to resolve the issue with the butchers and consider their demands sympathetically.

Dar said that last year the Divisional Administration had fixed the rate of meat at Rs 535 per kg, but prices have not been raised since then. Dar said that since the Alliance had settled the matter between the stakeholders as a facilitator last year, it was its moral obligation to end the deadlock between the stakeholders at this stage as well.

He urged the administration to resolve the problem amicably so that people do not face a shortage of meat during the holy month of Ramadhan and Eid. Dar also urged the administration to withdraw the March 18 notification which was extended for six months.

He said that fuel prices had gone up from the last year. As a result, transport fares also increased. He asked the government to take into account all these issues and solve the problem of the butchers and increase the prices as per the regulations.

He requested CAPD to stop sealing butchers’ shops until the matter is settled, as this could lead to more meat shortages during the holy month of Ramadhan.

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