SRINAGAR — Ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, people complain that the sacrificial animals are being sold at arbitrary prices in the absence of the rate regulatory body for livestock in Jammu and Kashmir.
The consumers told the news agency KNO that there are no fixed rates for sacrificial animals and that the sellers are pitching the rates of their choice.
“From Eidgah to Soura, not a single seller told me a fixed rate; some were selling sheep at Rs 350/kg while some at Rs 430/kg. There is no enforcement or checking of rates,” Tariq Ahmad, a Srinagar resident, said.
Tariq, who was present at the Eidgah, where the sacrificial animals are sold, said he is not able to select the ‘Qurbani’ due to high rates. He said he, along with his family, has been visiting the market for the last two days.
“The rates should be reasonable. I selected a sheep that was of a good size, but its owner asked for a huge price. I even offered him a rate beyond the ongoing market rate, but he insisted on his price tag,” Ahmad said.
Many visitors said the market is down compared to the last few years. “The people’s purchasing power is low this time. The livestock at Eidgah used to be less, but you can see how much still stands unsold,” said another person out to buy the animal.
A non-local seller from Rajasthan said that he has so far sold around 30 per cent of his livestock. “I have paid the freight of more than Rs 1 lakh for transportation. I brought 160 sheep here, of which I have sold around 40 only. There are no fixed rates, I have sold some at Rs 350/kg and some at Rs 360/kg even though there should be a rate of Rs 400/kg,” he said.
Similar reports were received from other districts of the valley where people complained of unregulated rates of sacrificial animals for Eid-ul-Azha.
The General Secretary of the Mutton Dealers Association, Mehraj-u-din said that they have no say in regulating the rates of sacrificial animals. “The rates are purely in an agreement between the buyer and seller,” he said.
“There is nothing much our association can do about it. It is purely between a buyer and a seller when both are satisfied at a specific rate. And more importantly, the rates depend upon the quality one purchases,” he said and added, “Even those who are not of our trade sell sacrificial animals on these days. We cannot make any pre-announcement on the rates.”
Last year, ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the J&K Government fixed the rates for sacrificial animals. For Delhi Walla and Merino Cross varieties, it was Rs 310 per kg, for Bakerwal and local Kashmiri sheep, it was Rs 295/kg and the rate for goats was fixed at Rs 285 per kg.
Earlier this month, the administration instructed the officials to refrain from regulating the prices of mutton and other livestock products.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir did not respond to the call for his comment on the issue.