Exorbitant Mutton Rates | Authorities crack whip on violators

A man walking by a meat shop in Srinagar during a snowfall [Image for representational purpose only] Habib Naqash /GK

Three days after fixing mutton price at Rs 480 per kilogram, the authorities today took strict action against the violators.

Officials told Greater Kashmir that as many as 15 FIRs were lodged and two shops sealed for violating government rate list.

Pertinently, the divisional administration has launched helpline 1800-180-7114 for consumers to register complaints relating to overpricing by meat sellers.

In several areas of the Valley, as well as in the summer capital Srinagar, the meat sellers continue to sell mutton at exorbitant prices.

“I purchased meat for Rs 600 per KG today; the meat seller simply told me that it was not possible for them to sell at government fixed rates,” Mohsin Khan of Lal Bazar said.

Amid covid19 lockdown, the meat sellers arbitrarily increased the mutton prices to Rs 600/kg.

Getting persistent complaints from consumers, the Food department and the administration finally woke up to fix the meat prices three days ago. And, after fixing the prices, the authorities have now deputed teams to inspect markets and ensure no overpricing by the sellers, officials said.

Speaking with Greater Kashmir, Director, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA), Bashir Ahmad Khan said the department has lodged 15 FIRs and sealed two meat shops— one at Batamaloo and another at Lal Bazar— for overpricing during the last two days.

“We will intensify the market checking drive in coming days. There are clear instructions from the divisional administration to cancel licences of mutton sellers for overpricing,” said Khan.

The Director FCSCA urged people to cooperate and inform the department about profiteering.

It may be recalled that the new rates were fixed by the Price Fixation Committee headed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.

This committee, although expected to meet every year, met last Monday for the first time since 2016.

During the meeting, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Pandurang K Pole had said that the government will now do away with the practice of the mutton fixation committee meeting every year to revise rates of mutton.

Pole said 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.”