With the sales of chicken and mutton going down due to the coronavirus scare, it is the humble 'kathal' (jackfruit) that is emerging as an acceptable alternative.
'Kathal' is now selling at ₹120 per kilogram -- an increase of more than 120 percent over the normal ₹50 per kilogram.
The jackfruit, in fact, is now higher priced than chicken which is selling at ₹80 per kilogram due to poor demand.
"It is better having a 'kathal' biryani instead of mutton biryani. It tastes reasonably good. The only problem is that 'kathal' has been sold out in the vegetable market and is difficult to find," said Purnima Srivastava whose family savours non-vegetarian food on a regular basis.
The corona scare has hit poultry business so hard and the Poultry Farm Association recently organized a Chicken Mela in Gorakhpur to dispel the misconception that birds are carriers of the deadly virus.
"In fact, we gave away plateful of chicken dishes for ₹30 to encourage people to savour the delicacies. We cooked one thousand kilograms of chicken for the Mela and the entire stock was sold out," said Vineet Singh, head of the Poultry Farm Association.
However, the Mela did not do much to dispel the fears about chicken, mutton or fish consumption amid the virus outbreak.
The fear against chicken has been such that in some places, live chickens have even been killed to avoid the spread of coronavirus. In Belgawi, Karnataka, a chicken farmer buried truckloads of chicken alive. The incident occurred in Gokak in Nulsoor where a farmer by the name of Najeer Ahmed Makandar dumped about 6000 chickens into a dump and buried them alive amid falling demand for chicken as it is falsely being believed that eating the bird spread the virus.
(With inputs from IANS)