By: Ahmad Shabir
Srinagar: With Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) authorities failing to enforce the rates fixed by it for poultry, the chicken prices in the market have skyrocketted. The retailers are selling the chicken at Rs 175 to Rs 180.
The overpricing has led to shortage of broiler chicken in many areas with people accusing the authorities of failing to keep a check on the rates.
The government two months ago had fixed the rates for broiler chicken at Rs 125 per kg while as the rates for mutton have been fixed at Rs 535. The strike by the meat sellers had led to the meat crisis in the Valley for several months.
Though the meat crisis came to an end recently after the mutton dealers agreed to sell the meat at the government fixed rates.
However, the poultry sellers seem to be giving no damn to about the government rates. People from various areas of south Kashmir, including Kulgam, Anantnag, Kokernag, Shopian, Pahalgam, Bijbehara and Pulwama complained that the chicken sellers have no regard for the rates fixed by the government.
The broiler chicken, they complained is sold at the rate of Rs 170 to Rs 180. “I bought a broiler chicken on Saturday which weighed about 2 kgs. I was charged Rs 350 for it. When I argued with the chicken seller and asked him about the government rates he clearly told me to complain to the government against the whole sellers who actually have hiked the rates,” said Abdul Majid from Bijbehara.
Another resident from Pulwama, Mushtaq Ahmad accused the authorities concerened of failing to check the violation of government fixed rates for poultry.
“For last ten days the chicken rates continue to witness hike in the market. Five days ago i purchased broiler chicken at the rate of 160 per kg and today i bought it at the rate of 170. In villages the skyrocketting of poultry has led to shortage of chicken while as in townships FCSCA authorities seem to be least bothered about the overcharging,” Ahmad said.
A chicken seller, Jahansher Bashir said that he is getting the broiler chicken at the rate of 160 rupees in wholesale.
“I am selling it at rupees 170 which means that i am earning rupees 10 per kg. After i had exhausted my stock last week i did not make fresh purchase for five days and decided to wait till the rates come down. But as the rates further went up i was left with no option but keep the chicken available at the same rates,” Jahansher said.
If authorities, he said, want to regulate the prices of the broiler chicken, they should act against the wholesale dealers.
Director FCSCA, Kashmir, did not respond to repeated calls from Precious Kashmir. However, an Assistant director, admitted that the chicken rates have been illegally hiked by the dealers.
“We are receiving complaints from many areas and we are going to act tough against the dealers and retailers selling chicken at higher rates,” the officer said.