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We are more concerned about our honour more than anything, Kashmiri mutton retailers say

Impasse likely to end after KEA’s fact-finding Committee submits report

Srinagar (J&K)

In the valley of Kashmir, the retail sheep meat sellers have been on a shutter-down strike since the past week now, after the UT administration issued the revised mutton price of Rs 480 per kilogram.

Digpu News reached out to the protesting mutton retailers in the southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

President of meat sellers in Pulwama district, Parvez Ahmad, said, “This strike is not just about the rates. In fact, it is about the honor of our profession as well.”

When asked to explain, he said, “Each and every day, we are being harassed by the officials from FCS&CA for one thing or the other. Our shops are being sealed and we are not being heard at all.”

“Our suppliers have denied to continue the supply of sheep as our offering is quite low as compared to meat sellers from other States. We are forced to go on strike as opening our shops is akin to inviting losses on a daily basis,” Javed Ahmad, vice-president of the Union said.

Meanwhile, the trade body Kashmir Economic Alliance’s fact-finding committee, which went for a fact-finding tour outside the UT for information about meat prices in outside markets, has submitted its report to the authorities.

Led by Farooq Ahmed Dar, Convener of the Committee and Co-Chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, the members of the Committee submitted the report to the Director, Department of Civil Supply, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and Divisional Administration on Monday.

An 18-page bi-lingual report, compiled in Urdu and English, features the prices of meat in Delhi, Rajasthan, Ambala and Amritsar markets.

Sources privy to the development said that the fact-finding Committee in its report has said that meat retail dealers procure Grade (A) meat for Rs Rs. 518 per kilogram and it is up to the government to add some profit to this amount for these retailers.

Although the price includes the profits of the wholesalers and commission agents of Delhi, the profits of the butchers are not included in the report.

According to the report, the average price of meat from Rajasthan Mandi to Kashmir reaches the valley at Rs. 541 per kg, while the average price of meat from Delhi Mandi to the valley reaches at Rs. 527. The price of meat from Ambala to the Valley is estimated at Rs. 516. The average price of meat from Amritsar to Kashmir has been fixed at Rs 490.

Taking into account the prices of meat in all the four markets, the Fact-finding Committee has presented a break-up of the price of meat at Rs 518.5 per kg.

The report, however, claimed that that members have followed proper criteria before fixing the rate of the meat.

The fact-finding committee in its report also made recommendations and suggestions to the authorities, including regulating meat industry, raising issues with the concerned States to prevent illegal tax collection outside and mutton dealers have been urged to adopt procedures in the interest of consumers.

Sources said that there are indications that the four-month standoff between the administration and the mutton dealers will come to an end once the administration will take a final call, based on this report.

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Aasif Ganaie

Aasif is a journalist and a news enthusiast based in Jammu & Kashmir. He voyages to explore and uncover the stories that need to be told. With a special focus on data journalism, the journo also writes about happenings, events and everything that matters.

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