Hosa Thodaku | Mutton prices touch ₹1,000 a kg in Bengaluru

Short supply of meat and fall in consumption of chicken after avian flu spike mutton prices on non-vegetarian feast day

Updated - March 27, 2020 11:41 am IST

Published - March 26, 2020 10:43 pm IST - BENGALURU

A long queue outside a mutton stall in Hassan on Thursday.

A long queue outside a mutton stall in Hassan on Thursday.

The non-vegetarian feast of Hosa Thodaku , which is celebrated a day after Ugadi, rubbed salt into the wounds of people, who are under lockdown owing to the COVID-19 threat, as mutton prices saw an unprecedented increase and even touched ₹1,000 per kg in several parts of Bengaluru.

Hosa Thodaku is popular in several parts of the State, especially the Old Mysore region.

But mutton prices not only spiked, but also went out of stock in most of the areas.

In Bengaluru city, the prices hovered between ₹850 and ₹1,000 per kg as against the normal range of ₹500 and ₹600. A meatseller in Bengaluru blamed it on the lack of transport facilities and the lockdown.

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department officials pointed out that ever since the instances of bird flu were reported, meat prices had shot up as people had stopped eating chicken. However, COVID-19 turned the matter worse as there is no movement of meat or live sheep from different places, they noteD.

But the high prices did not deter the people from buying meat as they thronged meat shops in huge numbers and also bought in huge quantities.

“We are buying more as we are not sure whether these shops will continue to sell from tomorrow,” said a resident in Bengaluru.

As the meat shops drew crowds, people were seen buying meat in a hurry fearing that the police might come anytime to stop the sales as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 since social distancing was hardly maintained.

The festival disappointed people in most parts of Mysuru as meat shops remained closed in this city. Though the district administration had exempted meat stalls from the list of commercial establishments to be closed in view of the -19 restrictions, they had been closed for a week.

However, a few mutton stalls operated clandestinely for one or two hours on Thursday, selling meat for prices from ₹640 to ₹800 per kg. The regular price of mutton in Mysuru is ₹580 per kg.

After the outbreak of avian flu, the authorities had banned the sale of poultry products in a radius of 10 km from the epicentre of the bird flu in Kumbarakoppal in the city.

Since the ban covered the entire city, chicken shops were closed for the last 10 days. The mutton shops have also been closed since this week.

Though officials of Department of Animal Husband and Veterinary Science said the department had not passed any orders on the closure of mutton stalls, mutton merchants said Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) officials had directed them against opening shops as part of the prevailing COVID-19 scare.

Hundreds of people stood in long queues in Hassan to purchase mutton to celebrate the festival. The district administration allowed the stalls to open only till 1 p.m. owing to the lockdown.

Maintaining social distance in the queue, people stood for long hours to purchase the meat priced at ₹650 to ₹700 per kg.

The long queues and the restrictions coupled with high prices made many people to skip the festival in the district.

Kumari, who works as a cook, said her family had decided not to have non-veg on the day. “The price of mutton is very high and we cannot afford to it. Moreover, one has to stand in long queues to purchase a kg,” she said.

In Hubballi, which saw meat prices going up to ₹700 a kg owing to short supply, the shop owners are considering closing shops from Friday owing to the restrictions on movement.

In Shivamogga, the mutton prices touched ₹700 per kg as against the normal level of ₹550. In view of bird flu reported in the neighbouring Davangere district recently, prohibition has been imposed on the sale of chicken in Shivamogga district till the end of this month. Also, in the wake of the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the arrival of sheep and goat to Shivamogga from Haveri and Chitradurga districts has come down.

(Inputs from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan, Shivamogga and Hubballi)

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