SRINAGAR With Eid-ul-Fitr just a few days away, mutton is being sold at an exorbitant price of Rs 500 per kilogram.
While repeated claims of the authorities to issue a revised rate list for mutton has not moved beyond papers, consumers are bearing the brunt by paying almost 20-30 per cent more than the earlier notified prices of mutton.
Last month, when mutton commission agents who supply meat to the dealers, went on a week-long strike, government was mulling to review prices of mutton. However, despite several meetings between the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) and commission agents, no middle path could be achieved to fix the rates.
As per officials while commission agents during their week-long strike were demanding that prices of mutton to be fixed at Rs 480 per kilogram, authorities didnt want to increase the rates more than Rs 440 per kg.
Even as commission agents and CAPD have been at loggerheads, consumers have been at the receiving end. A consumer from Dargah said he purchased mutton for Rs 520 per kg recently.
I complained with CAPD about overpricing but even though they slapped a fine on the erring trader, the same butcher started selling on exorbitant prices from next day, said the consumer not wishing to be named. The hotline number of CAPD has also been receiving a lot of complaints regarding overpricing of mutton.
Mehraj-ud-din Ganai, general secretary of All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association said prices of mutton touching Rs 500 is within normal limits. Ganai said different expenses for livestock traders such as transportation have witnessed a sharp increase.
The single biggest reason for mutton prices to increase was frequent closure of the national highway which hit the demand and supply. The traders have been facing immense losses and it is high time that government goes for a price review of mutton, Ganai said.
When contacted, Director, CAPD, Muhammad Qasim Wani said prices will be fixed after Eid. Wani admitted that mutton was being sold at Rs 500 per kg adding that the department does not want review prices presently when both demand and supply are quite high.
The delivery of supplies has increased after frequency of trucks coming to the Valley has increased during last few. We held a few meetings with the mutton commission agents and unanimously decided that new prices will be fixed after Eid, Wani said. ( KNO )