Milk supply to Mumbai suspended over farmer’s strike, brace for shortage

Milk supply to Mumbai suspended over farmer's strike, brace for shortage
Milk supply to Pune and Mumbai was suspended from Sunday night (Representational Image)

Mumbaikars, along with the rest of Maharashtra, may have to brace for milk shortage as farmer organisations went on strike on Sunday night demanding a hike of Rs 5 in procurement price.

“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,” Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti said.

“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,” Shetti, chief of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, said.

He said that procurement prices of milk should be immediately hiked by Rs 5.

“The government says that milk would be brought from other states, especially Gujarat and Karnataka. We’ll start a ‘Satyagraha’ and ensure that no milk is brought to from outside. It’s the tactic of the government to disrupt a protest by doing this,” Shetti added.

Earlier today, the organisations’ members stopped vehicles near Pune and prevented milk from being supplied to nearby cities.

Ajit Nawale of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha said that the agitation would intensify further if the state government failed to procure milk at higher prices or did not give special subsidy to milk farmers.

The Ahmednagar police, meanwhile, has issued a notice to Nawale asking him not to enter the district in order to avoid law and order problems. Even Mumbai Police served a notice under Section 149 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Based on his previous record, Nawale will be held responsible and detained by the police in case of any protests.

As many as 55 lakh milk pouches are sold in Mumbai every day with Gujarat-based Amul having the highest marketshare of 30 percent followed by Kolhapur-based Gokul, said Dairy department officials.

While the strike is expected to hit milk supply from today itself, officials said Mumbai has at least two-days worth of buffer stock.


Update:

The protest took a violent turn on Monday afternoon, when workers of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathna set ablaze a truck of Rajhans Milk Shop in Maharashtra’s Malegaon.

The driver, fortunately, managed to escape the vehicle without any injuries.

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