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Kerala's 'Chicken Problem' Has Minister Threatening Stringent Action, Special Task Force

In Kerala, poultry farmers and traders have decided to go on an indefinite strike on Monday as a mark of protest against Kerala Finance Minister Dr TM Thomas Isaac's decision to sell chicken at Rs 87 a kg or face action.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:July 9, 2017, 10:52 PM IST
Kerala's 'Chicken Problem' Has Minister Threatening Stringent Action, Special Task Force
Image for representation only. (Photo: Reuters)

Thiruvananthapuram: Come Monday, poultry farmers and traders in the state will go on an indefinite strike. This is in response to Kerala Finance Minister Dr TM Thomas Isaac asking them to sell chicken at Rs 87 a kg or face action. The traders won't sell it for less than Rs 100 for a kilo.

There was a discussion with the minister and representatives of poultry traders in Alappuzha, but that did not yield any result.

The minister warned of stringent action against the traders and said that a special task force will look into the tax evasion done by this sector.

Kerala is the only state which levies a tax on chicken at 14.5%. The minister called on traders to reduce the price of chicken as it came under the zero tax bracket with the rollout of GST on July 1. The government had stepped in when chicken prices soared post the implementation of GST.

Traders say that it is impossible for them to sell chicken for Rs 87 as the production cost in the state is Rs 87, and many are sourcing chicken from Tamil Nadu where the rates are Rs 115 per kg. Traders allege that the minister has come out with such a figure without much consultation and study.

Noble M Sebastian, state treasurer, Poultry Farmers and Traders Association, said, "We have decided to shut down our shops till the issue is settled. It is not possible for us to sell at this rate as the prices are higher in Tamil Nadu. People here have already started threatening us that if we don't sell the price they want us to, they will attack us. That is also a reason why we have decided to shut shops."

Kavi Kumar, Poultry Farmers and Traders Association, joint secretary, also complained that the minister could have discussed with them their production cost and then come out with a figure. He said the decision was taken unilaterally.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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