At a time when inflation has gone down and fuel prices too have been slashed, the hike of Rs 2 per kg in Sanchi milk prices has raised hackles of consumers and experts alike.
The move also goes against the earlier argument of the state-run milk cooperative federation that milk prices are hiked due to increase in input costs.
The price of Sanchi (gold) milk, which stood at Rs 36 per kg on March 31, 2013, is Rs 46 per kg now with the latest increase on November 1. No surprise, consumers are fuming with anger.
Milan Pandey, 45, a resident of Trilanga, said, "For the past one year, I have been increasing my milk budget. Sanchi, despite being a product of the state cooperative federation, is being sold like any product of a private company. This is really sad in a state which has one of the largest population of undernourished children."
Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat state secretary Ghanshyam Chandravanshi said, "Dairy federation is not to earn profit by putting extra burden on consumers. They are failing in satisfying both farmers and consumers. (There is) something wrong in the federation. Despite lesser transportation cost, they keep increasing price."
However, Bhopal Sahakari Dugdha Sangh chief executive officer AK Nigam dismissed the allegation of increasing prices to earn profits. "We were trying our best to control the price. The federation is not for earning profit. We had increased the purchase rate without increasing the selling rate. In view of market, it had become mandatory for us to increase the price of milk packets."
When pointed out that after the latest hike in prices of Sanchi premium brand, its rate has equalled the rate of Amul milk, which is brought to a place like Bhopal spending far more on transportation and which has a better market standing as well, Nigam said, "Amul has surplus milk. They somehow want consumption of their milk in the market. Otherwise also, if Amul milk is sold in the open market for Rs 38 per kg, they won’t find buyers and they are selling it to their 'captive' buyers for Rs 46."