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Maharashtra milk protest: Tankers blocked at several places; CM ready for talks

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Pune | Published: July 17, 2018 2:45:21 AM

Milk supply was badly hit in Maharashtra on Monday after dairy farmers came onto the street to launch a protest for better prices of milk and a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre.

Scores of milk tankers bound for major cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and others, were blocked in different parts of the state, raising the spectre of milk shortage.

Milk supply was badly hit in Maharashtra on Monday after dairy farmers came onto the street to launch a protest for better prices of milk and a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre.

Scores of milk tankers bound for major cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and others, were blocked in different parts of the state, raising the spectre of milk shortage. The call for the indefinite agitation was given by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), which was also supported by the All India Kisan Sabha.

Besides the subsidy, they are demanding a GST waiver on butter and milk powder.

Milk collection was affected in places like Kolhapur, Sangli, Ahmednagar, Satara, Pune, Buldhana, Vidarbha, Amravati, Marathwada, Nanded and Aurangabad, among others.

Protesters waylaid tankers with thousands of litres of milk.

Milk pouches were strewn on the roads in Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Sangli, Palghar, Buldana, Aurangabad and Solapur.

According to reports, a tanker was set on fire near Amravati. Several activists were taken into custody.

Tankers were halted in several places.

Around 3 crore litres are collected in the state on a daily basis.

SSS chief Raju Shetti, who is leading the agitation pointed out that the state government has fixed the procurement price of Rs 27 per litre but the farmers get barely Rs 17 per litre. “We are demanding a direct subsidy of Rs 5 per litre to the farmers, as provided in Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. With a drop in the rates of skimmed milk powder, even the milk cooperatives are facing a tough time,” he said.

The state government has said milk would be brought from other states, especially neighbouring Gujarat and Karnataka but farmers’ leaders claimed they will start a ‘Satyagraha’ and ensure that no milk is brought from outside.

SSS spokesperson Yogesh Pande said that only 10% milk collection took place in Maharashtra on Monday and the situation is likely to worsen from Tuesday as more farmers would join the agitation.

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