Of late, the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) department has launched a massive drive to make mutton dealers fall in line as far as officially fixed rates are concerned. The department says its drive follows continuous complaints from various corners regarding overcharging by mutton sellers. The department’s enforcement squad have been sealing mutton shops and imposing fines on erring traders for violating E.C.Act.
Moreover, the department says erring lot has been reprimanded to remain careful in future and warned that whosoever found violating the norms will be “brought to justice”.
While action by the government as far as ensuring implementation of the fixed rates is welcome, mutton has started to become a rare commodity as far as availability is concerned.
Mutton forms an important and inalienable part of the diet chart in Kashmir Valley. Ever since the administration fixed the retail price of mutton at Rs 535 per kilogram, there have hardly been any takers and mutton dealers used to sell it openly at Rs 650 per kilogram. The dealers have been alleging that rates fixed by the government are far from plausible given the fact that commodity come at higher price than fixed by the government.
Pertinently, the mutton dealers were selling it around Rs 500 but with the advent of covid-19 and shutdown forced by it, the prices went up and the dealers would sell it for Rs 600. However, as the government fixed the price at 535, mutton dealers started to charge Rs 650 per kilogram.
In the middle of it, the consumers are 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 administration while fixing the price 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 administration maintains. After recent drive by the authorities, the commodity has become rare and has vanished from the markets, more so during the day time. In such a scenario, the government must come up with a pragmatic solution, ensuring the prices fixed are either adhered to and that also ensure there is no black-marketing by the traders.