The state government is likely to launch a subsidy scheme to provide relief to milk producer farmers in the next few days, following protests by them across the state.
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KMF has been able to sell only 40 lakh litres of the total daily procurement of 90 lakh litres. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO BY K. MURALI KUMAR

The meeting held by the dairy farmers representatives with the dairy development minister Sunil Kedar on Tuesday, however, did not lead to any firm assurances or announcements by the government.

As a result of the lockdown and commercial-industrial shutdown, more than 20 lakh litre milk in the state remains unsold daily. It has resulted in fall in the procurement price, below the government rate of ₹25 a litre for cow milk. Milk producers and the organisations representing them have been protesting across the state over the last two days, demanding cash subsidy of ₹5-10 for a litre of milk and ₹50 a kg for the export of the skimmed milk powder (SMP) produced out of the excess milk.

Farmer organisations have been protesting by emptying the milk containers on roads, demanding government subsidy in the wake of the dropped rates and fallen demand owing to the lockdown.

“We have been purchasing the excess milk from the farmers to ensure that they do not suffer any losses due to the fall in the demand. We have purchased 5.80 crore litres milk in more than three months and have converted it into 3500 metric tonnes of SMP by spending around ₹200 crore. We have heard the demands of the milk producer farmers and are positive about relief to them. The final decision over the new scheme for the milk producer farmers will be taken by discussing it in the state cabinet,” said Kedar.

The organisations representing the farmers were divided over the demands. The per litre subsidy ranged between ₹5 and ₹10, while some of them demanded subsidy on SMP.

“The subsidy never reaches the farmers. The milk unions, federations and private brands get benefited out of such schemes. We have demanded the SMP produced out of the excessive milk be distributed to the poor people through the fair prices at rationing shops,” Raghunath Patil, state chief of Shetkar Sangathana said.

Ajit Nawale of milk producers Sangharsh Samiti said that they have demanded the subsidy of ₹10 be credited directly into the accounts of the farmers instead of giving it to the milk collecting bodies. He said that they also have demanded an intervention scheme to ensure that the farmers get at least ₹30 a litre as procurement price. Nawale said that the protest will continue until the firm decision is taken by the state government.

Previous Fadnavis government had announced a subsidy of ₹5 a litre for procurement of the milk and ₹50 a kg for the export of the SMP. The farmers have, however, alleged irregularities by the milk collecting unions, federations and private brands depriving farmers of the benefits.

Patancheru police on Tuesday conducted searches on a milk factory in Pashamailaram industrial estate on the city outskirts and seized adulterated dairy products, particularly curd and cheese (paneer).

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