From Rs 125 In 2008 To Rs 340/Kg In 2013, Hike Fleecing Aam Aadmi
Believe it! During last four years the mutton prices have witnessed an unprecedented about 200 per cent increase. Kashmir being one of the highest meat consuming places in India has been hit hard by the price increase.
Interestingly, the hike in Kashmir has been more as compared to other states in India.
A bare look at the rate lists issued by the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Kashmir, during last 12 years reveals sustained periodical hikes in the mutton rates. To top it, every government announced hike has seen arbitrary mark-ups by the dealers.
In 2001 mutton was sold at Rs 100 per Kg. In 2003 the rate was increased by Rs 10. After 2003, the prices remained unchanged for over four years. On June 25, 2008, the price was increased to Rs 125 per kg.
Even after that, during 2008 there was no further hike in the mutton rates and it remained same for that year. But on July, 8, 2009 mutton rates were increased by Rs 65 per Kg and mutton was sold at the rate of Rs 180 per kg.
During 2010 the mutton rates remained unchanged. However on April 4, 2011 rate was hiked by Rs 60 per Kg to Rs 240 per kg. On June 3, 2012 rate was further hiked by Rs 40 to Rs 280 per kg. Contrary to the government fixed rates, the retailers were selling the mutton at Rs 320, which have further been arbitrarily hiked by the dealers to Rs 340.
Pertinently, the Kashmir Mutton Retailers are on strike demanding further hike as the CAPD has been of late raiding the shops of butchers for selling the meat at exorbitant prices.
Meanwhile, the consumers are facing the brunt. “I think no other eatable has witnessed such a sharp price hike as the mutton. Besides the government announced hikes, the mutton dealers and retailers are unilaterally and arbitrarily hiking the prices,” said Muhammad Yaqoub, an Old City resident.
Yaqoub suggests the consumers need to raise their voice against arbitrary hikes. “If a butcher sells mutton at prices higher than notified by CAPD, they must approach the authorities concerned.”
President Kashmir Mutton Retailers Association, Khazir Muhammad Regoo said: “Kashmir is wholly and solely depended on mutton import. Government should focus on promoting the sheep industry in Kashmir so that our dependence on imports comes down. Once that is done, the rates will automatically come down.”
He said the consumption of mutton in Kashmir was increasing constantly which was a reason for hike in the rates.
Director, CAPD, Mir Mushtaq said: “We are trying to ensure that mutton dealers and retailers become more accountable.”
In reply to a question he said: “We will increase the mutton rates only after taking on board all the stakeholders.”