Milk supply disrupted for 2nd day in Maharashtra

By: | Published: July 18, 2018 2:05 AM

Milk farmers in Maharashtra disrupted supplies for the second consecutive day following a call given by farmer body Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) for a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre into farmer accounts.

Tankers were blocked at several places with SSS leader Raju Shetti stopping around 20 milk tankers at the Gujarat border near Boisar, preventing their entry into the state with support of the Bhoomi Sena.

Milk farmers in Maharashtra disrupted supplies for the second consecutive day following a call given by farmer body Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) for a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre into farmer accounts.

Tankers were blocked at several places with SSS leader Raju Shetti stopping around 20 milk tankers at the Gujarat border near Boisar, preventing their entry into the state with support of the Bhoomi Sena.

Yogesh Pande, spokesperson of the Sanghatana, said the government was acting adamantly and despite appeals by the Swabimani chief that he is ready for a dialogue, the government has not responded in a positive manner.

The government does not seem to have the farmer interests in mind, he alleged, adding that there has been no proposal from the government’s side for a dialogue.

The impact will be seen from Wednesday onwards with large dairies such as Chitale Dairy also lending support for the strike. Barely 20% milk was collected on Tuesday throughout the state, he said.

Significantly, Chitale Dairy has announced that milk collection has been stopped against the backdrop of the agitation which may lead to a scarcity in some parts of Maharashtra, including Pune and neighbouring areas.

On the other hand, collection of milk improved at the Katraj Milk Dairy of Pune.

Vishnu Hingne, chairman, Pune District Cooperative Milk Producers Association, said majority of farmers had brought milk. The intensity of the agitation has subsided, he pointed out.

“How long farmers can wait? Milk is perishable and can’t be stored for long”, he said.

Other milk bodies, however, claimed that milk collection had not improved much. The SSS activists claimed that milk was distributed free of cost by farmers to school children, warkaris and villagers.

Pande claimed that the impact of the agitation was severe in rural areas.

Pande said that dairy farmers are forced to sell milk in Maharashtra at Rs 16-17 a litre, while branded bottled water fetches Rs 20 a litre. Some months earlier, dairy companies were offering Rs 26-27 a litre.

The governments in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have been paying a subsidy of up to Rs 5 a litre to milk farmers but the government of Maharashtra has so far not accepted this demand.

Early this year, around 20,000 milk farmers walked to Mumbai from Pune to press for this demand.

A subsidy of Rs 5 a litre for cow milk is estimated to cost the government Rs 600 crore annually, he said, adding that the government seemed to have the interests of milk powder producers in mind rather than the farmer.

There seems to be no authentic data on the total production of milk powder in the state and therefore there is a possibility of milk powder being brought from other states to Maharashtra to avail of the 50% export subsidy declared by the government, he said.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition