Gujarat govt is openly interfering in Amul affairs, says Kurien’s ex-aide

Ahmedabad : A former aide of Dr Verghese Kurien, a pioneer of ‘white revolution’ in the country, on Friday said the BJP government in Gujarat was interfering in the functioning of the constituents of GCMMF (the owner of ‘Amul’ brand products), and his vision was being diluted.

 Dr Kurien, who died in 2012, is credited with shaping the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) as a world-class dairy cooperative. GCMMF had a turnover of Rs 20,733 crore last fiscal. “The essence of Dr Kurien’s vision-mission, and the raison d’etre is getting diluted day-by-day,” said P A Joseph, general manager (HR, Admin and Corporate Communication), Dudhsagar Dairy, one of the constituents of GCMMF, reports PTI.  “Government interference in the affairs of the dairy cooperatives is becoming more blatant,” he said in a statement issued here. Joseph had served as the private secretary and executive assistant to Dr Kurien and was considered to be one of his closest associates. His comments come amid allegations that the BJP government is trying to wrest control of dairy cooperatives in Gujarat from those affiliated to Congress or otherwise opposed to the BJP.

 After a long legal battle, the Registrar of Cooperatives recently removed Vipul Chaudhary, considered to be close to the Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, as the chairman of Mehsana District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, also known as Dudhsagar Dairy. A custodian was appointed at the dairy.

 The battle for the control of Anand District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union has reached the High Court after the Registrar questioned the election of Congress MLA Ramsinh Parmar. A government custodian has been appointed at the Banas District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union in place of the elected chairman Parthi Bhatol. Custodian S B Chauhan was allegedly beaten up by Bhatol’s supporters last Tuesday when he went to take the charge. l. “Many times I had to answer questions from visiting dignitaries and common people as to why Amul was a success when government-owned or controlled dairies are all in loss! The answer was the same that Dr Kurien gave in 1964 to then PM of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, that the Amul dairy cooperative was not government-owned, but owned by farmers, and the CEO was appointed by the farmers.

“The message was clear that ownership and accountability were crucial for success, which unfortunately, are missing when government takes control,” he said. Reacting to Joseph’s allegations, chairman of GCMMF Jethabhai Patel said the milk cooperative movement in Guj was strong enough. “Dr Kurien’s work cannot be undone. Politics is being played to wrest control of district dairy unions but it will not affect the core business of GCMMF. The things which are happening are not good and never used to happen during the time of Dr Kurien. But what he has created will remain intact,” Patel told.

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