Govt leaves unchecked escalating prices of meat products

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Imphal, Dec 1: The public of the state have to fork out the prices of meat items irrespective of how much the cost as the entire meat trade carried out in the state have been monoploised by the retailers due to absence of a price monitoring system. State government still has not been able to control the skyrocketing price rise of meat presently and the last few months have seen at least 30 % price escalation which still refuses to come down.

According to a survey carried out by IFP, due to the economic blocade imposed by Naga civil bodies along the national highway 53 and 39, essentials items and fuel were scarcely available. Prices of meat specially chicken which is consumed widely had gone up from Rs 120/kg to 150 /kg and still have climbed to 180 Rs /kg at present. Pork meat which was sold at Rs 140 have gone upto Rs 170/190, similarly beef have escalated from Rs 140/160 to 180/200 for with bone and boneless selection after the Eid festival of the muslim community held recently. The same effect can be said for mutton and duck with an increase of Rs 40/50 in both products.

A chicken vendor at Tera bazar sells meat at the rate of Rs 150/ kg presently and the owner Boinao told IFP that he makes around Rs 15 profit per kg .” Many big agents with huge poultry farms control the price of chicken in the market. It is up to the big shots to hike or lower the price according to their wish”,he said.

It was also learned from statistical reports that the consumption of pork and beef have gone up manyfold in the last few years and farmers cannot meet the consumption demands of the state, a credible source stated that pigs are brought in from Mayanmar and buffalos are brought to the state from the porous Mayanmar border via Ukhrul district. The buffalo meat is also sold as beef at Khuman Lampak after purchase from the Ukhrul agent. The crimson colour of the meat is the tell tale sign compared to the paler colour of beef.

The wanton price rise in the sale of meat items have effected the purchasing capacity of the pubic living below the poverty line.

Bongcha, a lawyer voicing his opinion in the regard said ” The price of meat have gone up but have never come down since 3/4 months back , even no discounts are given for the festivals also , we mainly eat chicken which have gone up from Rs 120 to 180 in these few months ,the government should investigate and take up certain measures ,otherwise the cost will rise month after month.”

Investigating the matter , it was found out that none of the departments of the state kept tabs on the price escalation and none were properly authorised as of yet to check the price rise. It is not verified which department should fix and maintain the sale price of meat products even after officials of veteniary department and the Imphal Municipal council were approached by IFP.It can be stated that the price of the meat and relevant increase in meat products have been fixed by the meat vendors carrying out business in the core area of Imphal city according to their whim.

Consumer affairs and public distribution minister Y Irabot commenting on the matter stated that the state machinary is not involved with the price fixing of meat products but for essential items only.” One can do without consuming meat and fish but cannot do without rice.This is the main area that I focus on”, he said.

As per rules Manipur should have a slaughter house, which should be the source of the meat sold for public consumption. In the absence of the slaughter house neither government nor the state veterinary department can do anything to control prices of the meat products.

The veterinary department and IMC officials maintained that if a slaughter house could be set up the prices could be controlled including the hygenic condition of the meat sold. As there is no authority for checking the prices the dealers charge the customers as they wish.

Sources said the prices have gone up by 30 per cent after the blockade. But interestingly the prices have not come down though regular supply of all commodities has been restored after the lifting of the blockade including animal feed.

Records in the IMC said Manipur consumned 400 cattle, 460 buffallo, goat 700, sheep 400, pig 3,600 and poultry 2,40,000 annually. This figures were recorded sometimes back. And it is estimated that the quantity has gone up considerably in the past one year or so.

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