Meeting to end deadlock on meat prices soon

In the face of acute shortage of mutton in the market, the divisional administration Kashmir has decided to convene a meeting of all stakeholders to end the deadlock over meat prices.

Confirming this, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole told Greater Kashmir that a meeting of all the stakeholders will be called soon to end the impasse on the issue.

Official sources said that the meeting is likely to be called on Saturday afternoon.

Apart from the mutton dealers, representatives of departments of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, and Sheep Husbandry will also be a part of the meeting. Earlier, a meeting was held in November last year to fix the mutton prices.

The deadlock over the prices continues even after a ‘fact-finding committee’ constituted by the government, submitted its report. The committee had visited various mutton markets in Delhi, Rajasthan, Ambala and Amritsar to find out the prevalent rates there, before submitting its report. However, there was no headway on the issue after the filing of the report, as the Div Com was on a weeklong leave and resumed his duties on Tuesday.

The committee formed to examine the mutton rates across the country, in its report to the government submitted that the retail dealers in Kashmir procure grade-A meat at Rs 518 per kilogram.

The committee while underlining the need for increasing the local mutton production has in its report submitted that non-availability of local production makes Kashmir heavily dependent on outside supplies.

It may be recalled that new rates of mutton at Rs 480 per kg in the retail market were fixed by the Price Fixation Committee (PFC) in November last year, after the mutton was being sold at Rs 600 per kg.

The PFC which revises the mutton rates is headed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. Although expected to meet every year, the PFC had met last November for the first time since 2016, when the rate of mutton was fixed at Rs 440 per kg.

During the meeting, the Div Com had said that the government will now do away with the practice of the MFC meetings every year. Pole had said that instead there would be an automatic annual price revision based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) which is determined by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on a regular basis.