Srinagar, Oct 30: Kashmiri mutton dealers Monday staged a protest alleging that goons in Madhavpur Punjabe have been demanding heft amount from Kashmiri turkers as ‘illegal tax’.
The mutton dealers under the banner of Chinar Sheep and Goat Welfare Association, All Jammu and Kashmir Mutton Dealers Association and All Jammu and Kashmir Butchers Association assembled here in Press Enclave Srinagar and urged upon the State Government to take up the issue with Punjab counterpart and relieve us from the hardship they have been facing.
Dealers said despite Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti taking up issue with the Punjab government, it not taking any action against these “ransom collectors”.
“Every time we have to face similar kind of harassment,” the protesting mutton dealers said alleging that vehicles carrying livestock are “detained by Punjab and Haryana police on the highway for hours every day, which delays the supply to Kashmir and poses threat to the life of the livestock.”
They said that “gangs of almost two dozen local goons” in Punjab pretending to be Cattle Fair representatives are extorting a tax of “4 percent on the total live stock value” on trucks plying on the Pathankot- Madhopur- Lakhanpur road stretch in the name of ‘Punjab Cattle Fair Act 1967’.
“We procure these animals from Gazipur in Delhi under valid documents and receipts and have been doing this trade for last several years. But since last two years, we have been paying Rs 6000 – Rs 7000 per truckload to them (goons) who tell us that this is ‘cattle fair charge’. Now suddenly they have increased the charges to 4 percent of the value, which comes to almost Rs 30,000 on each truckload of livestock. Dealers can’t afford to pay this huge amount so we have suspended supplies,” said Khazar Muhammad Rigoo.
Almost 30-40 truckloads of livestock are transported to the Valley every day, he said adding if this practice is not abolished, the price of meat will rise considerably. (CNS)