The price controlling mechanism introduced by the district administration in view of the COVID-19 crisis has been thrown to the wind by the majority of the meat and fish merchants in Kozhikode city. Vegetable and fruit vendors too are following their path in the absence of effective penalising measures against violators.
Though the fixed price for a kilogram of chicken meat is 200, merchants are hardly sticking to it. The price being charged by the majority of the shops is now above 200. Shop owners are not even displaying the price list.
Wayside fish merchants are also cashing in on the situation as they never come under any surprise inspections. There is also a spike in the number of such wayside sellers who manage to collect stock from harbours at a lower rate. Even poor quality stock obtained from various locations are being put up for sale in suburban areas.
Beef stalls are reportedly charging above 300 a kg. Fish merchants are even charging 400 for a kilogram of mackerel though the price fixed by the district administration is 240. Only very few traders are now sticking to the official price list given by the district administration.
You may ask the Collector to supply items directly at this price: this is what we hear from the majority of the traders when we point out the price disparity. If we want to purchase the items, we will have to pay the amount they demand, says Shelly Kizhakkayil, an East Hill resident.
Meanwhile, some of the fish merchants who continue with the doorstep delivery every day say the additional amount is being charged to compensate the struggle they face to get the required stock from harbours. They say that they have to take a lot of extra pain these days to get the stock from wholesale suppliers.
For meat merchants, the unavailability of cattle to meet the actual demand is the issue. According to them, transportation of animals from various locations too has been stalled with the COVID-19 protocol in place.