Dairies, cow-shed owners face crisis as milk sales fall in Bengal amid Covid-19
The crisis has hit the dairy industry in the state despite the exemption given to the sale of milk and cattle feed.Updated: Mar 27, 2020 10:31 IST
Dairies and cow-shed owners in West Bengal have said the sale of milk has fallen drastically after eateries, hotels and sweetmeat shops closed amid the 21-day complete lockdown because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The crisis has hit the dairy industry in the state despite the exemption given to the sale of milk and cattle feed.
“One of the main reasons behind this crisis is that retail outlets are either closed because of the lockdown or operating only for limited hours,” Bhaskar Nandy, the managing director of Bhagirathi Milk Cooperative Society in Murshidabad district, said.
According to data compiled by the National Dairy Development Board, West Bengal is among the top 10 milk-producing states. Uttar Pradesh tops the list.
The Jorasanko Milk Merchants Society in Kolkata sought the intervention of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. It said xxx and state-owned Mother Dairy can buy this milk at its own rate.
“About 60% of the milk produced in Bengal is sold to the sweets industry. Due to the lockdown, this milk has to be disposed of. The rest has to be sold off at half the rate,” Rajesh Sinha, president of the society, wrote in a letter to Mamata Banerjee.
“Due to the non-availability of enough feed many businessmen are being compelled to sell their cattle to slaughterhouses,” Sinha added.
Haradhan Ghosh, a cowshed owner at Ghoshpara in the Barasat area of North 24 Parganas district, unavailability of cattle feed has become an issue.
“We are small traders. If we do not get cattle feed, the cows will die,” Ghosh said.
West Bengal has reported that there are 10 Covid-19 patients in the state so far.