THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The restaurants in the city are heading towards a crisis due to a steep increase in the price of chicken. The price has gone up due to non-availability in the wake of a strike called by the poultry retailers in the state.
The All Kerala Chicken Dealers Association, Poultry Farmers and Traders Association and All Kerala Poultry Federation called for the strike after talks with Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac failed. The merchants refused to accept the minister’s demand to sell chicken at Rs 87 per kilogram. “The situation can be managed till afternoon, but there will be a shortage of chicken in most of the hotels by late evening,” said G Jayapal, general secretary of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association.
Anas Thaha, managing director of Imperial Kitchen at Keston Road, said it is difficult to keep the prices in check in the current situation. “Even though we do not depend on chicken heavily, we cannot afford to sell the dishes at the price we revised around seven months back,” Anas said.
“As it is Monday, the rush is low and chicken items are available. But if the strike continues, we do not think we will be able to serve dishes made of chicken in the coming days,” said Sajan C of Khasak Restaurant in Jawahar Nagar.
“The government has asked the poultry retailers to sell chicken at Rs 87. So, the customers will want the dishes too at a comparative rate,” said Sreelesh P of Biriyani Club in Sasthamangalam. “But we cannot lower our low rates because the wholesale dealers are supplying chicken at a very high price,” he said.
“In the city, there are thousands of retail dealers. Even the Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation (KEPCO) will find it difficult to supply chicken at the price set by the government,” said Rasheed, a chicken retailer. “So, we have to depend on sellers from other states who sell at a much higher rate,” he added.
“With the implementation of GST, the tax on the chicken got reduced by 14 per cent. However, the price has not gone down even 10 days after GST came into force,” said Ranjith of Hotel De Paris which has currently hiked the price of chicken dishes by 15 per cent. He said the footfall of customers has decreased over the last couple of days due to price hike. Hotel and Restaurant Association said the Tamil Nadu lobby is controlling the price of chicken and it is important to address the issue.
“The hotels across the state will remain closed on Tuesday,” said Jayapal. “We will increase the number of beef, mutton, fish and egg dishes,” he added.
No Chicken 65
Hoteliers in and around the city said if chicken is not available in the coming days, they will prepare more beef and mutton dishes. However, chicken still tops the list when it comes to non-veg menu, followed by beef, fish and mutton. Among the dishes that sell the most are biriyani, kabsa, chilli chicken, chicken fry and curry. Beef fry, roast and dry fry are also in high demand. “At our hotel, both chicken and beef dishes sell out equally. Today we did not get our daily stock of chicken. Since the quantity of the stock was limited, we had to adjust the varieties accordingly. If the condition remains the same, we will have to remove chicken dishes from the menu and rely only on beef items as the latter is available more easily,” said Shamsudheen, a restaurant owner.
Average Price of some of the popular non-veg dishes
Rs 60/ piece
Mutton pepper fry