The dairy farmers’ stir has escalated with more farmers joining the agitation at many places in the state.
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Farmers, under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha, protested on Monday by pouring milk on streets across the state.

Farmers’ leaders, who met state animal husbandry and dairy development minister Sunil Kedar seeking fiscal assistance, have decided to continue the stir.

In Kolhapur, milk supply to several cities, including Pune and Mumbai, was affected due to the protest called by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. At several places, the farmers spilt milk on the road. They also stopped the vans supplying milk to the dairies and opened the tap of the tankers carrying milk to the cities.

Eventually, the dairies in Kolhapur and Sangli had to seek police cover for transporting milk to Pune and Mumbai. However, due to the protest, large quantities of milk got wasted.

Raju Shetti, the leader of the farmers’ outfit and former MP who led the agitation, said, “We have some basic demands. First, the state government should pay Rs 5 per litre to the farmers to compensate for the losses they are facing due to reduced procurement price by the dairies. Currently, the dairies are paying between Rs 17 and Rs 19 per litre, which is much less than the fixed price of Rs 28 per litre.”

He added, “Our second demand pertains to the central government policies. The central government has approved the import of 10,000 tonne of milk powder from other countries. This will impact the local dairies that have already huge stocks piled up.

Our third demand is to waive the goods and services tax (GST) on milk products. The last two demands will help revive the dairy business and automatically place dairies in the position to pay the farmers.”

In Nashik, the Dudh Udpadakh Saethkari Sangharsh Samiti has taken a decision to continue the agitation. Ajit Navale, a farmer leader and the chief if the Samiti, said, “We had a meeting with state animal husbandry and dairy development minister Sunil Kedar on Tuesday. He did not make a commitment to transfer Rs 10 per litre to the bank accounts of dairy farmers who have been incurring losses. The meeting served no purpose.”

“The minister was aware of our demand and he should have done his homework before meeting us. He told us that he would place the demand before the cabinet,” added Navale.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive day, dairy farmers in the Akole taluka dumped milk on road. According to Mahesh Navale, a senior member of the Samiti, dairy farmers dumped milk on the road at 12 villages in the taluka.

Jerry Dakin’s cows have produced milk that helped feed families across the state for decades. Now, the longtime Manatee County dairyman has been recognized as Florida’s Farmer of the Year.

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