The issue of fresh milk supply to Mumbaikars pertaining to the shifting of all buffaloes, tabelas (cattle sheds) and milk business activities from Mumbai to village Dapchari, around 140 km from Mumbai, remained unresolved in the Supreme Court hearing on Thursday.
A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari adjourned the matter to April 8 after hearing both the sides on a special leave petition by the Bombay Milk Producers Association against the Bombay High Court's 2020 order to shift all milk business activities from the metropolis to the village.
The association has moved the SC through its treasurer Abdul Jabbar Haji Sardar Chhawniwala. It has made 18 parties as respondents, including Janhit Manch, a Mumbai-based NGO, which has been contesting since 2005, through a PIL, to shift all milk businesses from Mumbai and its suburbs to Dapchari or any other location. The respondents include the Maharashtra government, the controller of cattle, the district development officer, and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, amongst others.
One of the main concerns of the petitioner association is that the state has failed to answer how milk would be transported from Dapchari to Mumbai. The minimum time required for a one-way trip from Dapchari is about three-and-a-half hours because of traffic and the condition of roads at various places on the way.
The members of the petitioner association, being suppliers of fresh milk, need to ensure the milk reaches the end user within 3 hours of its extraction, as they have been doing in Mumbai since decades. Their contention is that their business of supplying fresh milk will be ruined if they move their cattle to Dapchari village.
The association is agitating that the government should relocate their tabelas to the Aarey Milk Colony. Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, assisted by half a dozen lawyers, argued on behalf of the association.