Govt warns mutton retailers to open shops

Mir BaseeratSrinagar, March 9: The government on Tuesday gave a strict warning to the mutton retailers asking them to open the shops or face action.Divisional Commissioner Pandurang Kondbarao Pole told Rising Kashmir that they have given strict warning to the mutton retailers and asked them to open the shops or their registration will be cancelled.He said the mutton retailers will have to open the shops even if they don’t sell the mutton.“They can’t keep shops closed or else their registrations will be cancelled. The registering Municipal body will take action against them.”The dealers had stopped selling mutton in the retail market seeking revision of the rates fixed by the government in the month of November last year at Rs 480 per kilogram. However, the mutton retailers had proposed investigation into the market prices. In this regard, a fact-finding team of traders along with civil society members had also visited outside Mandis to verify the rates of the mutton.The committee had informed the government that dealers in Kashmir get mutton at Rs 518 per kilogram in the wholesale market and the government can accordingly fix the rates.  However, so far, the government has not issued any fresh rates prompting retailers to either shut shops or sell at higher rates secretly. Pole said that 125 police complaints have been registered against those selling mutton at higher prices.He said Rs 4.5 lakh fine has been collected from the mutton dealers this month.Assistant Director Food and Supplies Department Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said the government had given two days time to the mutton retailers to open up their shops “but they failed to do so”.He said strict action will be taken against the dealers starting tomorrow morning.However, General Secretary Mutton Dealer’s Association Mehraj-ud-din said they are not willing to sell mutton at the government approved rates.“We can’t sell mutton at Rs 480 per Kilogram,” he said.Vice President Kashmir Butchers Association Mohammad Rafiq Rah said that the retailers are not willing to sell the mutton at government approved rates.

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