Dairy farmers call a strike protest; Milk shortage in Maharashtra
Dairy farmers went on strike on Sunday midnight, due to which the state is likely to face milk shortage starting Monday. However, Financial Capital, Mumbai may not suffer the shortage as it has a two-day buffer stock, said an official. The strike, led by Raju Shetti’s Swabhinaani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), was in protest of milk price drop and procurement reduction by co-operatives. The farmers demanded direct subsidy of Rs 5 per litre and GST wavier for butter and powder milk.
SSS has a high demand for milk supply in the Western areas of Maharashtra including Sangli, Satara, and Kolhapur. Lok Sabha MP and SSS Chief, Raju Shetti said, "Farmers sell milk to dairies at Rs 17 per litre. After processing it, the dairies package it in pouches and sell it at a minimum rate of Rs 42 per litre. The difference in earnings has not been passed on to the farmer.” He further added, "Milk supply to Pune and Mumbai is going to be suspended from midnight. We have to press for our demands because the state government is not taking any concrete decision to increase farmers’ income".Dairy Development commissioner, Rajiv Jadhav informed, “Friday all private dairies and milk producers had a meeting in which it has been decided to increase the procurement price by Rs.3 from July 16”. Other farmers' organizations like All India Kisan Sabha and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi too have backed the protest. Maharashtra’s dairy sector procures around 120 lakh litres of milk sold in the market. While 40% of the total milk supply is done by state and co-operative dairies, majority 60% is done by private dairies operating from neighboring states.