HYDERABAD: With prices of mutton shooting up due to bird flu fears in Telangana, the animal husbandry department has stepped into and will regulate the price structure.
Mutton prices have shot up to Rs 1,200 in some areas, especially those in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits. Now the government has decided to fix Rs 600 to Rs 700 per kg and meat shop owners have to strictly comply with the ruling.
According to highly placed sources in the animal husbandry department, minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav held a high-level meeting with officials to regulate sheep prices with immediate effect. Citing bird flu dangers, meat shop owners and butchers increased the prices according to their whims.
In a few areas, what was Rs 650 per kg was being sold for an exorbitant Rs 1,200 taking advantage of customers, in a fix over bird flu, thronging meat shops. The minister asked officials to check the availability of sheep and goat in the state. He ordered them to book cases on shop owners and butchers, who sell for higher prices.
A senior animal husbandry official said that there has been no shortage of sheep and goats. He said that some traders have been deliberately looting consumers.
"We have around two crore sheep and goats in the state, which would be more than sufficient to meet the needs of consumers. We have advised officials to raid shops selling at prices over and above the fixed rates and book cases against them. In GHMC area alone, we have collected Rs 20 lakh as penalty against outlets selling stale meat and at higher prices ", he said.
The official said that the minister would meet Telangana State Sheep and Goat Development Co-operative Societies Federation in a couple of days to fix the price of meat.
"A final decision would be taken after discussing it with the federation. The price would be fixed anywhere between Rs 600 and Rs 700", he added.
Meanwhile, the government on Monday issued orders to the collectors to stop chicken supplies from Maharashtra until the bird flu cases are brought under control in the neighbouring state.
Though there is no case of bird flu in Telangana state so far, confirmed cases of bird flu in poultry have been reported from nine districts of Maharashtra including Latur, Parbhani, Nanded, Pune, Solapur, Yavatmal, Ahmednagar, Beed and Raigad, where affected and suspected birds are being culled.
The state government has directed district collectors of Kamareddy, Nizamabad, Nirmal, Adilabad, Asifabad and Mancherial to be on high alert and restrict the entry of birds from Maharashtra. These districts share the borders with Maharashtra where bird flu cases have been confirmed. They have also sought check posts on border areas and restrict entry of poultry items from Maharashtra....