Mutton dealers and traders staged protest here today to press for their demand to fix mutton rates.
Scores of mutton retailers under the banner of Unity of Mutton Traders Association assembled at Press Enclave demanding to review the rates of mutton.
Khurshid Ahmad Tolla, a mutton dealer said, “since the rate for mutton has been fixed at Rs 480 per kg by the concerned authorities, it is not possible for us to sell mutton at this price.” “We are not talking about our profit but the government must take the transportation and other cost into consideration. We were selling mutton at Rs 600 per kg which is the rate at which we buy meat from outside the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. At this rate, we have to pay money from our own pocket which includes travel and maintenance cost for the animals,” he said.
“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is not realizing how much we are suffering both financially and physically. Besides, the mortality rate of the animal brought to Kashmir from outside mandis is quite high. Hence, mutton dealers have incurred losses,” he added.
“Yesterday, the government has claimed that there are 80,000 sheep units, but on ground there is none. If they have such a huge number of units, why don’t they provide sheep to us? If they provide us one sheep per unit, we are ready to sell mutton according to the fixed government rates,” he further added.
The mutton dealers said that the animal and sheep husbandry department has itself admitted that the production rate is Rs 476. “Due to the fixed rate, some of the mutton sellers have shut their shops for the past three months as the government is not coming clean on the issue even though it is the third time we are assembled here,” he said.
“Even in Punjab and Delhi, the mutton is sold at Rs 600 per kg in retail. After our constant pleas, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir sent their delegation to visit outside markets and now that have got to know the rates after ascertaining the facts, no reports have been published yet,” they said.
The protesters appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and all the concerned authorities to revise and reconsider the rates of mutton to end the deadlock.