Members of farmers’ associations want the government clear long pending dues of the employees.
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Members of farmers organisations staging a protest in front of Ongole Dairy in Ongole on Wednesday.

Members of various organisations of district unit of Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangala Samanvaya Samithi (APRSSS) staged a protest in front of Ongole Dairy on Wednesday and demanded the government revival of Ongole Dairy in cooperative sector, run milk powder unit, withdraw GST on milk products and clear long pending dues to the employees immediately.

Andhra Pradesh Raithu Sangam district secretary Pamidi Venkatarao led the protest while Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam State president V Krishnaiah, Samyukta Kisan Morcha district convener Chunduri Rangarao, Ranga Kisan Samstha secretary Chunchu Seshaiah, Koulu Rythu Sangam district secretary V Balakotaiah, Ongole Dairy Employees Association leaders Rambabu, Narayana and others participated in the protest.

Speaking at the protest, the leaders of farmers and employees alleged that the political leaders are trying to loot Ongole Dairy, which was developed by the efforts of dairy farmers and employees for the last five decades, whose assets are worth hundreds of crores of rupees. They said that the dairy could pay Rs 100 per litre, as it is making Rs 250 worth of milk products from one litre milk. They pointed out that Kerala is awarding a bonus of Rs 34,000 to dairy farmers, who supply 10 litres milk for 100 consecutive days. Here, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who promised to give Rs 4 per litre, has forced Ongole Dairy to close and using the government administration to bring profits to Amul Dairy, they alleged.

The leaders said that the earlier governments have brought Ongole Dairy from Cooperative to MACS Act and then to the Companies Act and damaged its functioning. But the present government completely closed it, they criticised.

The protestors said that the VRS employees and staff, who were retired from 2010, are still waiting for their arrears of gratuity, PRC, DA and other for a long time and demanded the government for immediate clearance of dues. They called for support to the dairy farmers and employees irrespective of their political interests, in continuing the agitation to revive Ongole Dairy and to bring back the past glory.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Simmy Decker, 21, a health policy research assistant in Boston. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

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