Overpricing and hoarding
The landlocked Valley of Kashmir has been in news because of its political scenario. However, one thing that has been ignored in past two decades is the fact the essential items are being sold in markets at wilful prices right under the nose of authorities. Add to that the frequency of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway being blocked every now and then due to landslides-this phenomenon somehow makes all wholesalers and distributors to hoard essential items till a favorable rate starts floating in the valley markets.
In the early nineties we saw the phenomenon of hoarding when the highway got blocked. Mutton was sold in some sub-urban areas for four times its actual price. The possession of roosters in that time of distress was considered Gold. Such things happen because there are buyers available for any price.
In the current scenario meat is being openly sold for Rs. 500 per kg where the official rate is way less than that. Interestingly, in some quarters of Srinagar city the meat shops are just adjacent to police stations. Nobody complains and business goes on as usual.Everything goes on as usual and the authorities instead of acting as first responders do nothing about it.
Even though the government may argue that meat and chicken is not under common essential items. However, for the habitual regularity with which Kashmiris have been consuming meat and chicken it is all imperative that mutton intake is entailed in the eating pattern of a common Kashmiri.
Though there is a legal metrology department in place which overlooks the pricing of items sold in valley markets. However, somehow for certain items even they like to watch the happenings from the safety of the shore.They are minding some other business which the public has not been made aware of instead of doing what they are mandated to do.
Having said that, the purchasing power of a certain section of Kashmiri middle class who work as government employees has increased many times over with the pay commission revisions happening on a timely basis.
But there is a vast sea of people who can not afford meat at Rs. 500 per kg. It is the responsibility of the government to look into the matter and ensure it stocks to the pricing list it so joyfully puts in public domain.Besides, as responsible people we must immediately report to relevant authorities as and when we feel any norms are being violated.