Kashmir Fact-Finding Team Fans Out To Check Country-Wide Mutton Prices

Srinagar: A one-of-a-kind fact-finding team comprising of members of the All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association, Kashmir Economic Alliance and some local journalists travelled to different cities and states to investigate mutton prices. The team has now returned to the Valley and will soon publish its report.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about mutton prices in Kashmir and it’s become a serious issue, lately. We invited members from the Kashmir Economic Alliance and some journalists to join us as we visited different cities and states to check local mutton prices. We will soon present our findings to the public,” Mehrajuddin Ganai, general secretary, All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association, said.
Ganai further added that mutton dealers throughout Kashmir find themselves at the receiving end because locals believe that dealers here charge higher prices than the market rate set by the government.
“It was necessary to take local journalists along with us to let them understand what the market scenario is like, outside Kashmir and what the prices are like in other states. They influence public opinion and we are now eagerly waiting for their report,” Ganai added.
In November, the divisional commissioner of Kashmir fixed the retail price of mutton at Rs 480 per kilogram. However, many dealers sell the meat at a higher price.
Prior to that, in 2016, the rate of mutton had been fixed at Rs 440 per kilogram but the mutton retailers over the years haven’t adhered to the prices fixed by the government.
Interestingly, when the government capped the price of mutton at Rs 480 per kilogram (retail) and Rs 450 per kilogram (wholesale), most meat sellers closed their shops in the Valley leading to a massive meat shortage.
Later, even as they reopened their shutters, the crisis over meat prices continued.
Meanwhile, the government has insisted that the annual inflation doesn’t exceed 5-7 per cent and has accused the dealers of arbitrarily increasing the prices. The government claims that the prices it has fixed are realistic.
The government’s new rates will be applicable till December 2021 after which there would be an automatic price revision of mutton for 2022 as per the wholesale price index of the time.
The authorities have also directed the concerned departments to ensure that the rate list is displayed in every mutton shop and the new rates are strictly followed.
Of the 320 lakh kg annual consumption of mutton in the Valley, authorities claim the Valley produces 120 lakh kg while the rest 200 lakh kg is brought in from other states. Authorities argue that this is enough to stabilise mutton prices in the Valley.
However, the All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association claimed that the government’s rates are unfair. (KINS)