Mutton Shortage : Where are 80,000 sheep unit holders, Ask meat dealers..
Srinagar, Jan, 13 ÷ Due to closure of Srinagar-Jammu Highway, there is acute shortage of meat in Valley. Hundreds of trucks carrying sheep are stranded on the highway due to its closure, hitting normal supply.
Sources told news agency that there is no supply of sheep due to closure of the Srinagar-Jammu Highway since January 3 snowfall. Meat is not visible in Kashmir particularly in Srinagar city.
People in Jammu and Kashmir annually consume 51,000 tones of mutton worth Rs 1,200 crore. Most of the supply is imported from outside Mandis. Despite Sheep Husbandry Department claiming that they are funding and offering subsidies to over 80,000 Sheep Unit Holders, the local supply procured from them is meager.
The Sheep Husbandry Department claims that it contributes 33% of meat being consumed while 67% is imported. Mutton Dealers, however, contest this government claim saying the percentage given by the Government is mere an exaggeration.
“In fact these sheep unit holders create sheep farms to get subsidy benefits. If there number is so high, why meat is short in the market. Why don’t they supply sheep,” said a meat retailer.
Mehrajuddin Ganai, General Secretary Mutton Dealers Association said that Sheep Husbandry Department is claiming that it provides financial assistance to sheep unit holders under various schemes. “Where is the Department today and why it is not procuring sheep from these local unit holders? Why there is shortage of meat,” he questioned.
He said it is the duty of the Department to procure sheep from these local unit holders to ensure there is sufficient meat available in the market. “We will sell the meat as per the rate prescribed by the government provided the department procures sheep from the local unit holders,” Mehrajuddin said.
As per government data there are 80,000 Sheep Unit Holders who are being funded and provided subsidy to ensure growth of sheep in Jammu and Kashmir.
When contacted, Director Sheep Husbandry Abdul Salam said that they can’t compel local breeders to supply sheep as it will affect growth of live stock. “Still we contribute 33% of consumption while rest is being imported,” he said…..