Dairies in Maharashtra who waited till late Friday evening for pending dues of Rs 100 crore from the state government’s subsidy scheme have now threatened to pull out from the scheme.
Dairies in Maharashtra who waited till late Friday evening for pending dues of Rs 100 crore from the state government’s subsidy scheme have now threatened to pull out from the scheme. A final decision will be taken on December 5. Prakash Kutwal, secretary, Maharashtra Milk Producers and Processors Association, said if the dairies were not paid their dues by November 30, they would withdraw from the subsidy scheme.
“We have paid farmers in anticipation of the subsidy but the government has failed to pay us on time,” he said, adding the government was yet to come forward with a specific date for a meeting with dairies. “A meeting will be called on December 5 with the cooperative and private dairies and we shall then announce our decision.” He added dairies also faced a double whammy with the plastic manufacturers threatening to stop supply of plastic film for making milk pouches from December 15.
The state government had implemented the subsidy scheme under which Rs 5 per litre subsidy was extended to farmers from August and it was to continue till October-end. Around Rs 100-crore subsidy is pending to be disbursed to dairies between September 10 and October-end. After a four-day strike by dairy farmers in the state in July for a higher price, the state government had directed milk cooperatives to pay a procurement price of Rs 25 per litre of cow’s milk to farmers, an increase from the earlier rate of Rs 17-Rs 19.
The state produces around 1.30 crore litres daily. Of this, 60 lakh is in milk pouches for daily use. The government has made a financial provision for the preparation of the remaining 70 lakh litres of milk. Of the total 207 private and co-operative dairies in the state, 70 to 75 dairies which collect over 10,000 litres on a daily basis are eligible for government subsidy.
Last year, the state had made it mandatory for milk federations to pay a minimum of Rs 27 per litre on milk procured from dairy farmers across Maharashtra. But the federations had not been able to pay more than Rs 17-18 per litre to dairy farmers.
Significantly, the Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers’ Association in a letter to dairies had announced the decision to suspend the supply of plastic films in view of the ongoing actions against the industry.
The move was taken for not preparing an extended producers responsibility (EPR) by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board. As per rules, manufacturers or producers must submit the EPR plan, including the modalities of a waste collection system, to the urban development department for approval.
Plastic manufacturers claimed more than 150 to 200 units have stopped functioning because of the alleged harassment at the hands of pollution board officials. They have maintained they have requested MPCB to frame norms on EPR preparation as there was little clarity on the subject. They said it was not possible for them to take the entire onus of preparing and following the EPR because they only supply films and then, they make the milk pouches.