KOCHI: Beef which has become a rare item on dinning tables of Kerala households, will soon go completely off the menus with the the beef merchants in the state launching indefinite strike from Monday. Most of the restaurants and beef stalls in the city have started displaying ‘out of stock’ signs. Some retail beef outlets, however, selling beef at Rs 300 per kg.
The price of beef saw a sharp increase after the livestock supply from the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu stopped arriving. The increase in price has led to a sudden dip in demand and most of the hotels have taken off beef dishes from their menus.
It is alleged that unscrupulous elements in the guise of inspections are fleecing the merchants and also the vehicles transporting cattle are being attacked.
The strike is being launched jointly by the cattle traders and beef merchants of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in protest against attacks on vehicles transporting cattle from other states.
They also said that officials are also carrying out unnecessary checks and inspections on vehicles and this is affecting transportation.
The traders demanded that the state government should intervene in the issue and take steps to ensure safe transportation of cattle to the state.
“The heads of cattle reared for meat in our state is low compared to demand. We mainly depend upon states including Tamil Nadu for the supply. But recent incidents like attacks against trucks transporting cattle from other states by a group of anti-social elements near Palakkad and Wayanad has made the cattle traders from Tamil Nadu wary and they are hesitant to send the loads to the state. Hence, the number of loads coming in from outside has reduced considerably. Initially, we had launched a two-day token strike in protest against this, but the officials concerned have not taken any decision in our favour. Hence, we are launching the indefinite strike,” Kerala State Beef Merchants Association vice president K M Ummer told ‘City Express’.
Meanwhile, office bearers of Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHRA) said that the increase in price will surely affect the demand for beef items. “The price, which was between Rs 220 and Rs 240 has increased to Rs 280 to Rs 300. So most of the hotels are now offering a menu without beef dishes. But the scarcity of beef will result in an increase in demand for chicken and mutton. Naturally, the price of chicken and mutton will increase considerably in the coming days,” said KHRA president Jose Mohan.
He said that among red meat, the most sort after dishes are the ones with beef in it like beef fry, roast, dry fry and beef curry.
“But with the price of beef increasing considerably, the hoteliers will be forced to increase the price and this will affect the demand. The retail price of beef has increased to Rs 300 and if one goes by the trend set by the beef traders, they are not going to reduce the price even if the strike is withdrawn,” he added.
■ The beef merchants in the state are launching indefinite strike from Monday
■ Supply from neighbouring states stop due to attacks on trucks carrying cattle
■ Cattle merchant also blame officials for carrying out unneccessary checks
■ Price of beef goes up with stick depleting at retail shops
■ Increase in price kicks dishes made of beef out of the menus at hotels and resturants
■ The price, which was between Rs 220 and Rs 240 has increased to Rs 280 to Rs 300
■ It is said with beef out of picture the price of chicken and mutton may go up too