Srinagar: The Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, known as Department of Food in common parlance here in Kashmir Valley is virtually in hibernation while taking advantage of this hibernation, butchers and chicken sellers are looting people in this pandemic selling meat and chicken at extremely exorbitant rates.
Despite the claims to have set up special price control squads to check profiteering on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, the ground situation in the Valley’s markets speak different language, where the butchers and chicken sellers are dictating their own prices and put huge embarrassment to the local people
All this is going on under the nose of authorities. There is complete absence of market regulation. Meat per kilogram is being sold at Rs 650 and 710 while chicken per kg is sold at Rs 155 to 170. The rate prescribed by Food Department is Rs 400 for meat and Rs 110 for Chicken.
In Khayam area some meat sellers are selling meat at exorbitant rates inside bakery shops. Some are selling inside the premises of houses. “Everywhere the situation is same. When I asked a butcher in Nowpora, why he doesn’t follow government rate list, the butcher said they get only couple of days in a year to earn something. This is disgusting,” said a social activist Imtiyaz Ahmed Khan.
As the news about the loot spread in the area on Wednesday, couple of persons approached police station, and accordingly police swung into action and arrested several butchers. A police official confirmed the arrest of few butchers in Nowpora, Khayam area.
“If authorities wish, nobody can dare to loot consumers, but alas the department of Food is in deep slumber,” said a consumer.
This Reporter visited many areas of Srinagar city including Khayam, Nowpora, Khohankhan, Dalgate, Safakadal, Habakaldal, Rajouri Kadal, MR Gunj, Batamaloo, Sanatnagar and Mehjoor Nagar. Everywhere, chicken sellers and butchers were selling meat at higher rates. “At Kawdara a chicken sellers was selling chicken for Rs 170/kg. Nobody was questioning him and when I told him the rate fixed by government is only Rs 110, he said they procure chicken at higher rates at poultry farm. Before taking any action against us, take the owners of poultry farms to task,” he said.
The Eid is approaching and there is none who can take action against these ‘greedy’ butchers and chicken sellers. This pandemic is turning out boon for butchers, chicken and vegetable sellers and vendors. “Vendors have found a innovative method now. They are selling fruits, vegetables, meat and chicken in load carriers. They park these load carriers anywhere and sell their products at exorbitant rates.”
The message which reads: “Buy Chicken at Rs.110 per Kg only as per the guidelines of Legal Meteorology Department (LMD) and Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution (CAPD). If anybody selling Chicken at higher prices, you can contact on LMD: 7006209784 or CAPD: 7006944295 is viral on social media.
The CAPD number 7006944295 comes either switched off or busy while the number of LMD disconnects the phone on first bell.
Insiders told KNT that Food Department has become negligent and is totally callous towards the problems of the people. “Earlier, the market checking squad was robust and there was a proper mechanism. That is over now and people have been left on the mercy of God.”
A scribe said that there was a time when the name of Director Food used to be on the lips of everyone and he used to be a known figure. “The incumbent Director lives in ignominy and can’t be seen on ground. The staff of this Director is so arrogant that they rebuke an ordinary man when he complains about the market situation,” he said.
Confirming the arrogance and rudeness of staff present in Director’s office, Imtiyaz Ahmed Khan said that he was rebuked by an employee when he asked for the cell number of the Director and second time he again called and complained about mess in market, the receiver of the phone after listening his query banged phone on him.
He said people need a people-friendly Dirctor in Kashmir.(KNT)