Despite tall claims by the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) department that clear guidelines have been issued that only registered wholesale dealers will be allowed to import livestock from outside Mandis, mutton dealers Monday revealed that sixty percent of sheep from Delhi, Amritsar and Rajasthan are illegally imported to Kashmir by unauthorized dealers.
The dealers told KNS that mutton prices have gone up over the last four years in Kashmir due to improper way the sheep are being brought into the valley. They said that there are 210 registered dealers who provide meat according to the government rates. “We fail to understand why government issues license when it cannot stop illegal marketing of mutton. CAPD department has failed to check illegal supply, now it is high time for the government to give control of checking the supply to the police,” Firdous Ahmad, a registered mutton dealer told KNS.
“Kashmir has everyday consumption of around 5500 animals (sheep and goats) which is estimated to be around 70000 kgs. Meat prices have gone up by 200 percent over the last five years in Kashmir. From Rs 125 in 2008 to Rs 340/kg in 2013, the hike in mutton rates is putting extra burden on pockets of common people because of the illegal way mutton is being brought into the valley,” he said.
Lashing out at retailers he said, “We provide mutton to them at Rs 280 per kg, but the retailers are fleecing the consumers by charging the higher rates. The consumers are being taken for a ride by the butchers. It’s ultimately poor consumer who suffer because of the illegal supply.”
Sense of anger is brewing among the people against the CAPD Department for its failure to check the issue. The nexus between officials and black marketers and profiteers has rendered the common customer too helpless to raise their voice.
“Mutton retailers in Kashmir are selling meat at exorbitant rates without any fear, questioning the claims of administration on checking over-pricing. What is the purpose of issuing rates when the authorities are not able to control the mutton retailers? Butchers are openly selling meat at Rs 340 in market while CA&PD is acting as mute spectator,” said Ajaz Ahmad a resident of Rajbagh Srinagar.
Minister for CAPD Chowdary Mohammad Ramzan told KNS that this issue does not pertain to him as it is the Animal Husbandry department who can comment on it.
Minister for Animal Husbandry Nazir Gurezi told KNS that their job is only to look after quality of the mutton. “If there is anything illegal, it is the CAPD and Finance Department who are responsible as CAPD Department is issuing the license to the dealers and the Finance Department looks after toll tax department,” he said.