Srinagar, Jan 4: The authorities in Srinagar have sealed 49 mutton shops which according to them are operating illegally and without valid licenses. Nevertheless, these shop owners claimed the government had "unnecessarily" seized their shops.
Mehraj-ud-din, President of the Mutton Dealers Association, told Rising Kashmir that these shop owners are third parties as they buy stock from others to end the issue once and all they need to reach the resource level.
"The shopkeepers are given stock by different people, the government needs to tighten them instead of harassing the common shopkeepers. At present, 90 percent of livestock is being bought directly by people, how is this possible? They will curb this overpricing by seizing mutton shops." they said.
They revealed that brokers who are enjoying in other states are giving stock to people at exorbitant prices and these people are unaffected by the administration. Instead of taking action against them, the government is closing down common people's shops, which will not help to resolve the issue.
"The government is currently asking us to obtain licenses, and there has been no license renewal in over a decade now, the government is asking dealers to do the same. We have no issues with the license, instead, we are asking the department to provide license to only those people who are associated with the business," Ahmad Added.
The last time the rates were fixed, mutton dealers agreed to the rate list for six months and after that, these rates were supposed to get checked. When we approached the department about rate changes, they said they had already notified rates for a year, and despite the passage of two years, there had been no progress in resolving the rate issue, according to the president.
A group of mutton shop owners told Rising Kashmir that the CA&PD department has been visiting their shops and asking owners to vacate for unknown reasons for the past two weeks.
When questioned by mutton shop owners, they claim that the department has received orders from higher authorities to seal them. "Only a piece of paper is given to us, which, according to the shop owner, is sealed for overpricing." they said.
"We are unable to understand why shops are being sealed and we are being forced to hit the road. If the authorities believe we are overpricing the meat rates, why don't they call us for the same? We will negotiate with the government instead of sorting out things our shops are forcibly shut by them for our livelihood," said Mohammad Saleem Mir, president of the Unity Traders Association.
The mutton shop owners said that the government needs to work on the ground where they get the stock from. They said if the government would talk to them, things would be sorted out accordingly.
Director CA&PD Abdul Salam Mir said these shops are seized for overpricing and they are being run illegally. "Those who are buying livestock need to get a license only after that they will be allowed to buy livestock. To date, we have informed them many times, and they are reluctant."