On the one hand, the shortage is forcing citizens to travel to different places and break the lockdown rules and on the other, dairies with surplus milk are planning to produce milk powder.
Jyoti Patil, a banker, said the municipal corporation has asked for milk to be delivered at home but shopkeepers are either not answering the call or simply say that milk is over.
“We are forced to go to three to four shops to get milk packets. The milk shops are open from 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm, but not a single packet can be found in the evening,” she said.
Umesh Chechar, a shopkeeper in the Timber market area, said that due to panic buying, customers who used to purchase half a litre of milk are now buying one-and-a- half or even two litres of milk.
“Milk is a perishable commodity and we can’t purchase it in huge quantity as we will face losses if it doesn’t sell in time,” he said.
Amit Mane, a shopkeeper from Mangalwar Peth, said, “Our shops are closed due to the lockdown, so refrigeration of milk cannot be done. Hence, we are purchasing it in quantities that can be sold within a short time. If people purchase it in regular quantity, the demand will be met. Earlier we used to sell 70 litres of milk daily, but now it has dropped to only 30 litres”.
Meanwhile, operators of tea stalls, hotels, bakeries and restaurants who have a high demand for milk are closed now, leading to a drop in demand and forcing the dairies to mull production of milk powder.
D.V. Ghanekar, managing director of Gokul dairy, said milk is in plenty but the demand has gone down due to the lockdown. “Currently, 98,000 litres of milk is being distributed in Kolhapur city in the last few days as against 1,13,000 litres in normal times. The excess litres will be converted into milk powder although it is not a profitable task,” he added.