Due to protests led by dairy farmers, the milk supply is severely hit in major cities of Maharashtra. The daily farmers, under the leadership of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatan (SSS) and Maharashtra Kisan Sabha (MKS), are protesting across Maharashtra since Monday, over a sharp fall in wholesale milk prices.
Protesting farmers and leaders claimed that milk collection from corporate owned chilling centres and bulk dealers have declined to 10 per cent now. The state government has fixed the procurement price of milk at Rs. 27 per litre, but farmers allege that they barely get Rs. 17 per litre.
The farmers are demanding a subsidy of Rs. 5 per litre of milk and waiver of goods and services tax (GST) on butter and milk powder. The protesting farmers are also demanding Rs. 5 a litre of subsidy to be deposited directly into their account similar to the practice in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Farmers have also urged the government to fix a minimum selling price of cow milk at Rs. 30 a litre, so as to relieve dairy farmers from financial distress.
The protests started on Sunday night and gained strength due to support from farmer leaders all across the states. Farmers protested against the supply of milk to various districts of Maharashtra.
During the farmers’ protests, many milk supply tankers bound for Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and others were blocked by agitating farmers in different parts of the state. A large quantity of milk was also wasted when protestors emptied milk tankers on roads in several districts of Maharashtra.
Tankers laden with lakhs of litres of milk were stopped and the milk was spilled on the road in Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Sangli, Beed, Palghar, Buldana, Aurangabad and Solapur. In some other places, protesters performed the ‘dudh-abhishek’ with milk in major temples. Also, large quantity of milk was spilled on the road by agitating farmers.
Cow milk collection in Maharashtra stands at 10 million litre per day. Around 5.5 million cow milk packets are sold daily across Maharashtra – in which Gujarat-based brand AMUL brand contributes highest market share of 30 percent, followed by Kolhapur-based brand Gokul.