Dairy farmers call-off protest as state hikes procurement price, consumers to pay the same

Dairy farmers call-off protest as state hikes procurement price, consumers to pay the same
Dairy farmers ended their protest after the state government promised to hike the procurement price to Rs 25 per litre from Saturday (Representational Image, Courtesy: ellenlblog)

Dairy farmers called off their four-day strike on Thursday after the state government accepted their demands and assured that it will raise the procurement rate to Rs 25 per litre of milk from Saturday, July 21.

“The government has decided to give Rs 25 per litre for milk to dairy farmers with effect from July 21,” Dairy Development Minister Mahadev Jankar announced in the Legislative Assembly yesterday.

The minister made the announcement after a meeting convened by Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, leaders and representatives of milk suppliers federation were present at the meeting.

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna chief Raju Shetti, who was spearheading the protest, called-off the strike shortly after the announcement was made, adding that he was happy with the government’s decision.

“The government is looking to try a scheme which promises farmers better rates, we welcome that and take back our protest,” Shetti said.

The decision, fortunately, will not impact customers as the state government would directly offer a Rs 5 subsidy to diaries. On their part, dairies will have to continue selling at the same price. The subsidy will not be given to milk sold in pouches.

Dairy farmers had been holding protests in parts of the state since Monday, seeking a hike of Rs 5 per litre in the procurement prices. The impact of the protest was felt particularly in Mumbai and Pune where milk supplies were partially affected.

Though the protest has not created an acute shortage of milk yet, the agitation has intensified with families of dairy farmers also pitching in.

“I’m ready to withdraw the agitation if the milk-purchase rate is fixed around Rs 25 per litre,” Shetti had said.

The major milk-producing districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Ahmednagar and Nashik supply bulk of the stock to Mumbai and Pune. Some units in Thane and Palghar also supply milk to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The workers of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna washed buffaloes with milk and distributed milk to children yesterday as a mark of protest. They also blocked Kini toll booth on National Highway No. 4 near Kolhapur, due to which traffic had to be diverted.

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