SRINAGAR — Mutton prices in the valley have increased by almost 22 percent after the J&K administration recently instructed the officials to refrain from regulating the rates of meat and other livestock products.

Mutton consumers from various parts of the valley told the news agency KNO that they have been left with no option but to buy the mutton at exorbitant prices.

“In the absence of any rate regulatory body, mutton is being sold by butchers at the price of their own will. There is no one to check the rates. We see prices rising up by over Rs 100 per kg overnight. A common man has been left at the mercy of the situation,” Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar, said.

Farooq Ahmad Dar, a Srinagar-based trade leader, said the absence of a rate-regulating body for mutton and other livestock has created problems. He said that in case of overpricing of mutton, people used to approach and complain to CAPD, Tehsil, or the district administration.

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“Uncontrolled mutton rates have worried people as to where should one go if someone has a complaint about its pricing. The dealers have announced new rates till Eid. We don’t know what will be the rates after the festival,” he said while stressing that there “must” be a rate regulating body.

Calling for guest control in the absence of a mutton rate regulating body, Dar said that amid the marriage season in the valley, there are apprehensions that mutton may be sold even beyond Rs 650 kg and that people should limit the number of guests in marriages.

A senior functionary at All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association said the fresh rates of mutton were decided by the Mutton Retailer Association. “We extended our support on certain conditions to keep the mutton rates under control,” he said.

Quoting the Retail Mutton Association, he said they were apprehensive that mutton may be sold at varied and high rates in the valley and that the stakeholders associated with the trade unanimously decided to sell mutton at Rs 650 per kg till Eid.

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“We were a part of the meeting and rates were decided by the Mutton Retailers Association. We asked them to draw a mechanism which will ensure that the rates will be followed by every butcher,” he said.

Meanwhile, an official from the CAPD said that as of now, they have clear-cut directions not to regulate the rates of mutton and other livestock products.

The Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs last week asked the authorities to stop regulating the prices of livestock products. Prior to the notification, the government-approved price of mutton was Rs 535 per kg.

There was no response to the repeated calls and a message to the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on the issue.

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