Amidst the fall in prices and mismatch between the cost of production and the actual price, various farmers organisations, including Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha and Rayat Kranti Sena and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Saturday, launched protests across Maharashtra, demanding higher price and subsidy from the state government. At several places, farmers emptied milk cans and poured it on the road. Farmers also resorted to rasta roko at some places.
Dairy farmers from Sangli, Ahmednagar, Beed, Nanded, Osmanabad, Latur, Dhule, Nagpur and Pune, amongst other districts, have demanded an increase in the price of cow milk, subsidy of Rs 10 per liter and subsidy of Rs 50 per kg for milk powder.
Minister of Dairy Development Sunil Kedar had recently held a meeting with farmers organisations and political parties. However, the meeting concluded without any relief package and mere assurance. It disappointed farmers and parties who decided to hold a day long protest today.
The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha secretary (Maharashtra) Ajit Nawale told the Free Press Journal that milk prices have fallen to Rs 17 per litre, but milk is sold to consumers at Rs 48 per litre. “The state government must give direct subsidy of Rs 10 per litre to all the milk producers so that they get the price of Rs 30 per litre that they were getting before the lockdown. The central government should immediately withdraw its notification on the import of 10 lakh tonnes of milk powder, which will destroy the lives of milk farmers all over India,’’ he noted.
Nawale said the government must give a subsidy of Rs 50 per kg for the large stocks of milk powder lying in the go downs across the country. “The scheme earlier announced by the state government of buying 10 lakh litres of milk per day was limited to only about 24 per cent of the milk companies and, thus, failed to benefit farmers. Therefore, instead of the state government buying milk or giving subsidies to milk companies, a direct subsidy of Rs 10 per litre must be transferred to the bank accounts of all milk producing farmers,” he added.
Meanwhile, BJP also staged protests and demanded that the government should immediately pay Rs 30 per liter to milk producers and a subsidy of Rs 10 per litre of cow milk.
The leader of opposition in the state council Praveen Darekar warned that if the government fails to meet these demands, BJP will intensify the agitation. He alleged that 90 per cent of the milk subsidy goes to the institutions of certain political leaders.