The Gujarat dairy giant, Amul, is in the eye of a fresh storm after the recent controversy over trying to impinge on the territory of Karnataka’s state milk cooperative selling products under the Nandini brand. Now Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the Cooperatives Minister, to tell Amul to stop procuring milk in the state as it would adversely affect the state milk cooperative, Aavin. This battle seems misplaced as Amul too is a cooperative and it is well within its rights to expand to other areas. Consumers should be able to choose between brands and healthy competition among milk cooperatives will only benefit them as is the case in other states. In Delhi, Mother Dairy has managed to more than hold its own against Amul. Similarly, Amul has hardly made a dent in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh where local dairy cooperatives have a strong hold.
The politicisation of this issue is another example of the deep mistrust the BJP government has engendered among Opposition parties. Is it a mere coincidence that Amit Shah is Cooperatives Minister when Amul, the milk cooperative from his state, is spreading its wings to more and more states? Is there any merit in states’ concerns that Amul is encroaching on regional cooperatives and infringing several rules? Amul is a household name in India because it was the fulcrum of the white revolution that India witnessed. Helmed by the iconic Verghese Kurien, Amul’s is a success story that few can replicate. For it to be caught in such a controversy is unworthy of its stature as one of the first dairy cooperatives in India that transformed the lives of thousands of poor dairy farmers, especially women. Let us not drag Amul into a needless row.