Ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir impressed on officers to take “intensive measures” to ensure “quality meat” besides other eatables to people. He, according to an official statement, was speaking at a meeting attended by Commissioner SMC, Commissioner Food Safety, Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and officers from Animal Husbandry and Sheep Husbandry, Food Safety, Food Testing Lab Dalgate, Legal Metrology, Food and Drugs, SMC, Food and Drugs organization, FCS&CA and others
He exhorted officers to book erring traders under relevant sections of law besides asking them to cancel the license of those meat sellers who have been found violating “quality” guidelines frequently, the statement said.
People have been complaining that poor quality of mutton is available in the market and lack of serious action was only encouraging the dealers. Mutton forms an important and inalienable part of the diet chart in Kashmir Valley. Last year in March, the administration fixed the retail price of mutton at Rs 535 per kilogram without offal and Rs 490 with it. It had ended four month-long disagreement between the government and the mutton dealers then. The mutton dealers have resorted to old-tactics and availability of the inferior mutton needs to be addressed when eid-ul-fitr is round the corner. The dealers have been already selling the mutton at Rs 600 against Rs 535 fixed by the government. Now they reportedly charge around 25-50 more than what they used to sell earlier. Essentially the mutton is Rs 100 more expensive than the officially fixed rate.
The consumers are certainly caught in the tussle of sorts and most people have no way to enforce what has been fixed even as they want mutton prices far lesser than what they are made to pay. There is no doubt that people would in all situations want the prices to come down given the fact that the lesser the prices the better the deal. The government while fixing the price last time stated that representatives of the dealers were consulted. Besides, the technical team of the Sheep Husbandry department presented a “realistic scenario” of the production cost of the mutton industry as regards how much the retail rate should be even after ensuring the dealers get their due profit. After taking all these aspects into consideration, the new retail rate of mutton was fixed, the government maintained. Within one year into new rates fixed by the administration, the commodity has become rare and beyond reach. Besides ensuring that the dealers stick to the price fixed, the government needs to ensure that quality mutton is available to the consumers.