The impasse between the government and local traders in Kashmir over the prices of mutton continues as almost a week has passed since the two parties held a meeting last Saturday in order to bring an end to the row, which has now caused a shortage of meat in the markets.
According to local media reports, the Divisional Administration is firm on not showing any leniency to the mutton dealers in the Valley, who have rejected the government-proposed rate of Rs 515 per kg for the meat.
Inefficient bureaucracy adding to miseries
In the latest, the Apni Party staged a peaceful protest in Srinagar earlier on Wednesday urging the authorities to act efficiently over the lingering mutton crises and assess the rates in livestock markets outside Kashmir.
The party jointly urged the government to respond to their demands, as the common people are suffering due to the long-withheld issues.
The issue around mutton prices turned contentious after the rate was fixed at Rs 480 per kg in a meeting held in October last year between the representatives of mutton dealers, officials from the departments of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) and Sheep Husbandry, along with the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir.
It was the first annual meeting held after four years since 2016 aimed at fixing the prices of mutton but it resulted in a widespread disagreement by the mutton trading fraternity which has been selling mutton at Rs 600 per kg for almost the past year.
Meanwhile, in notifications put outside mutton shops on Saturday, the FCSCA authorities have asked mutton dealers to either end their 'illegal strike' and resume business within the next two days or face action.
Govt bent on arm-twisting
Bashir Ahmed, Director of Directorate of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), said, "Action will be taken against those mutton dealers who are not opening their shops."
Mutton dealers have alleged that the government is now resorting to arm twisting by not taking appropriate action in time and not even considering that nearly 30,000 families, those are involved in the mutton trade, are getting affected by the stalemate around price issue.
It has been said that the traders are reportedly willing to hold deliberations with the authorities once again in order to end the logjam, adding that ground realities needed to be taken into consideration while fixing prices.
After visiting livestock markets in Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan, a committee set up by Kashmir Economic Alliance had said in a report submitted to the FCSCA and the Divisional Administration that the procurement cost for A-grade mutton was Rs 518 per kg.
Keeping the above in consideration, the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, in the last meeting, had proposed a price tag of Rs 515 per kg of mutton, but the mutton dealers had rejected the suggestion stating that it would cause huge losses to them.
The government says that the decision has to be taken keeping in view the larger interest of the common man and not only one side of the issue. It is to be seen how the two sides fixate on same deal in days to come.