The BJP said Tuesday five lakh letters would be sent to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray through emails and on social networking platforms from across Maharashtra seeking a subsidy scheme for dairy farmers.
Dairies across the state had taken to slashing their procurement prices from Rs 27 per litre to Rs 15 per litre after reporting a drastic reduction in their returns during the lockdown. The BJP has been demanding a subsidy of Rs 10 per litre milk and Rs 50 per kg skimmed milk powder (SMP) for farmers to augment their earnings.
On Tuesday, the BJP and its allies held a meeting following which they issued an ultimatum to the state government to credit subsidy directly in the bank accounts of dairy farmers or be ready for a more aggressive second phase of its agitation for the rights of dairy farmers. “The party and its allies will not withdraw the agitation until all their demands for dairy farmers are accepted and implemented by the government,” state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said.
Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the problems of dairy farmers have been voiced by the opposition and farmers’ leaders for the last four months. “But the government has taken no concrete measures to resolve the problem. It is very unfortunate. When there was a similar situation during our (the BJP) government five years ago, we had immediately allocated Rs 1000 crore to provide financial assistance to dairy milk farmers, we provided a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre milk and Rs 25 per kg skimmed milk powder. There were additional incentives provided to farmers to ensure milk prices remained steady,” Fadnavis said.
Rayat Kranti Party chief Sadabhau Khot, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha chief Mahadev Jankar, Shiv Sangram chief Vinayak Mete and Republican Party of India (Athawale) president and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale has extended support to the BJP’s demands at the meeting. Khot said, “In the absence of government intervention, exploitation of dairy farmers has increased by the private and cooperative milk unions. They are forced to accept the lower prices for milk.”
Last week, government had promised supply of skimmed milk powder to tribal schools and under women and child welfare nutrition scheme for free.