Thiruvananthapuram: Chicken appears to have bowed out from the dining tables in Kerala with chicken sellers up in arms against Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac who has demanded that they sell the meat at Rs 87 a kg under the GST.
Across the state, from Monday onwards chicken sellers have begun an indefinite strike saying that it is not possible to sell it at Rs 87 a kilogram.
Issac had tried to cool down things down, but failed to prevent the strike after talks broke down on Sunday.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Issac accused the big chicken companies outside the state of controlling things.
“Prior to GST chicken meat had a tax of 14.5 per cent, and from July 1 that’s no longer there, so it is only natural that the consumer should get the benefit. At least one portion of the tax gain should be passed to the consumer. The state-owned KEPCO is selling at Rs 120 a kilogram, as their product is cleaned, skinned and all the waste is removed,” said Issac.
The strike has led to another problem as chicken farmers would be left with full-grown chicken with no buyers.
To counter that, many chicken farmers since Sunday have been moving their chicken to Tamil Nadu.
To this, Issac said that just as products come into Kerala, they are free to send it out of the state as well.
The poultry industry has been demanding that they are given time till September so that they can streamline their operations for GST, but that was shot down by Issac.
On Friday, Issac had warned that action would be taken if chicken prices are not brought down as chicken had fallen under the zero tax bracket under the GST that rolledout on July 1.
Issac had said that till June 30 Kerala was the only state in the country that levied a tax on chicken — under the 14.5 per cent tax bracket.