Ahead of Eid-ul-Adha, overpricing at Qurbani markets dampens festive mood

Consumers say dealers’ openly violating government notified rate list

As kiosks of sheep dealers selling sacrificial animals ahead of Eid-ul-Adha to be celebrated on August 22 have already created a hustle and bustle at the Eidgah grounds here, consumers visiting this wholesale livestock mandi are complaining of exorbitant prices of the sacrificial animals.

Several buyers told Greater Kashmir that even though Eid is just four days away livestock dealers at the Eidgah mandi and other markets across the valley have arbitrarily increased prices by throwing government notified rate list to wind. 

Food, civil supplies and consumer affairs (FCSCA) department on Tuesday issued a rate list for the sacrificial animals but the dealers in the market are openly violating these prices.   

While prices for Sheep (Delhiwalla) has been approved at Rs 210 per kilogram of live animal, Kashmiri Sheep rate has been fixed at Rs 200 per kg, consumers at Eidgah mandi told Greater Kashmir that they are being asked to pay almost 30 percent more  than these notified prices. As per the government rate list, sheep (Bakerwal) has been notified at Rs 200  per kg while prices of goat has been decided at Rs 190 per kg and Merino quality sheep has been fixed at Rs 210 per kg.  Shabir Hussain, a consumer from Soura who visited the Eidgah mandi to purchase a sacrificial sheep on Thursday said the prices of sacrificial sheep are unaffordable.  

“Amid scorching heat, I visited the Eidgah market but was quite disappointed. The prices for the sacrificial animals being demanded by the dealers is an open loot,” Hussain said.   

“On asking the dealers about pricing mechanism of the sheep, I was told that these sheep are priced at Rs 250 per KG which is much more than the government approved rates,” Hussain said. The latest government approved rate list has already increased prices of sacrificial sheep and goat by almost Rs 10-Rs 20 per kilogram as compared to the rate list last year but dealers at various markets are indulging into profiteering.

While officials in the FCSCA department make tall claims of “keeping a strict check” on the market prices of the sacrificial animals, consumers say government is giving “a free hand” to the dealers for looting common people.

“Despite the government approved rate list, dealers are dictating terms to the consumers. I did not see a single official at the Eidgah mandi or any of the qurbani markets,” said Ghulam Nabi, a consumer from Ganderbal who was busy inquiring prices of sheep at the Eidgah mandi. Zahoor Ahmad, a sheep trader from Jamallatta, who has set-up a kiosk at Eidgah grounds said they are compelled to sell sheep at prices in access of the government approved rate list. “I have been selling sheep here for last two days but am not getting good returns. Costlier transportation and sky-high prices of feed for sheep has impacted the overall price of the sacrificial goats. We are forced to pass on the burden on the consumers,” Zahoor said.

Mehraj-u-Din Ganie, general secretary of All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association said there is abundant stock of Qurbani sheep and goat available for sale this Eid-ul-Azha adding that rates are high as the market has “just picked up”. “Government approved rates after consulting us but prices are not being implemented properly. Usually sacrificial sheep are priced somewhat more than the usual livestock as its quality is much better,” Ganie said. “Sheep dealers have been suffering losses due to 2014 flood and unrest in 2016. Now we are hoping to do brisk business but hope the government regulates pricing properly,” Ganie said.

When contacted, director, FCSCA, Nisar Ahmad Wani said there are a few traders and dealers who have a “tendency of selling at higher prices” but the joint inspection teams of FCSCA and other departments are making regular market checking, he added. “Our teams will deal strictly with the violators. We urge consumers to keep us informed in case they come across any violations,” said Wani.