In times of Corona lockdown, mutton sold at ₹ 600 to 700

Mutton seller in Kashmir
Representational Image

SRINAGAR — Acute shortage of livestock due to the lockdown in Kashmir has led to a sharp rise in prices of mutton. The meat eaters maintained that a kilogram of mutton which was sold at 500 to 550 has now shot up to Rs. 600 to 700.

As per the Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), the rate of mutton per kg is 400. But people here said that despite the thriving demand for meat in Kashmir, the price has left a hole in their pockets due to clampdown over coronavirus outbreak.

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“Some mutton sellers who are able to sell mutton were found selling it at Rs. 600 to Rs. 700 a kg. A kilogram of mutton which I usually purchase at 500 was sold me to for Rs. 600,” Arslan Ahmad, who recently purchased 2 kg of mutton from Lal Bazar Srinagar said.

Another resident of Bemina who had managed to buy meat from downtown area of Srinagar said that he purchased meat at Rs. 700 per kg.

However, justifying high prices of mutton, traders said that they are compelled to purchase locally reared animals, which are usually costlier than the stock coming from other States.

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Since the lockdown is in place, Kashmir is facing severe shortage of mutton due to the lack of supply that used to come from Punjab, Haryana and New Delhi.

“We are finding it extremely difficult to source livestock. With much difficulty, we have been able to get few sheep locally just to keep the business alive,” revealed the trader. He said that locally reared animals are usually costlier than the stock coming from other States.

Another dealer said that shopkeepers are somehow arranging sheep through their contacts. “Retail rates have increased for obvious reasons as they are buying livestock at a higher price. Moreover, only a few retailers get local supply, which too is not smooth because of lockdown,” the dealer said.

One of the mutton sellers here in Qamarwari known for quality mutton has never opened his shop for business since the lockdown. “In normal situation, we slaughter about 5 to 10 sheep. But with the non-availability of mutton and keeping in mind the lockdown, we did not open our shop,” he said.

Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association’s General Secretary, Mehraj-ud- Din however said that it was wrong to sell meet on higher prices. “Yes, we have also received complaints that some of the mutton retailers are selling meat on higher prices. It is illegal and wrong. I urge them not to indulge in such wrongdoings,” he said.

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He, however, said that the department has fixed rate in 2016 and till date, they have not reviewed the rate. He urged the government to fix the fresh rates for mutton.

The General Secretary said that dozens of mutton dealers and meat sellers are facing huge losses. “We were yet to recover the losses inflicted on us by long shutdown due to rollback of Article 370. Now the pandemic has come again as our biggest enemy,” he maintained.

Director Consumers Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD), Bashir Ahmad said that they will take strict action against the offenders. “If anybody is found selling meat on exorbitant rates, we will lodge FIR against him. Let people come to us with the complaints and we will take action and even put the offenders in the jail,” he maintained.

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