Shetti’s Shetkari Sanghatana to block milk supply in Maharashtra
Raju Shetti, MP, a former ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, said that he will launch the agitation on Sunday midnight after offering milk to Lord Vithoba at Pandharpur, where lakhs of farmers are headed for the annual Palkhi pilgrimage.pune Updated: Jul 15, 2018 15:00 IST
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), a farmers’ organisation from western Maharashtra, has threatened to block milk supply to prominent cities in Maharashtra from Sunday midnight as a part of their agitation to demand higher price for cow’s milk.
Raju Shetti, MP, a former ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, said that he will launch the agitation on Sunday midnight after offering milk to Lord Vithoba at Pandharpur, where lakhs of farmers are headed for the annual Palkhi pilgrimage. Farmers across the state will, then, start blocking milk tankers headed to prominent cities, he said.
On the backdrop of the agitation, private and co-operative milk unions in Maharashtra have decided to increase milk prices by ₹3 from July 21. However, SSS is not satisfied with the decision and has decided to continue their agitation. Yogesh Pande, spokeperson of SSS, said, “We are demanding Rs5 subsidy per litre of cow milk. We are not happy with this decision. We will continue our agitation till our demands are fulfilled.”
While the SSS has a strong following in western Maharashtra as compared to other parts of the state, Shetti claimed that he had received support from farmers’ organisations in the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Gujarat. They have promised to not supply milk to Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, he said.
On Saturday, Shetti appealed to the farmers to not sell cow milk to dairies. Farmers were told to give away the milk free of cost to poor people and schoolchildren.
Shetti said that cow milk prices had dropped considerably and most dairies in Maharashtra were paying Rs17-Rs18 per litre to farmers, as against Rs 24 six months ago. “This is less than the cost of packaged drinking water. On the other hand, farmers are bearing Rs 35 per litre as production cost,” Shetti said and demanded that the government should transfer Rs5 per litre subsidy to milk producers as temporary relief.
Cow milk has been retailing at Rs 40-Rs 42 per litre and buffalo milk at Rs 54- Rs 56 per litre. Last month, dairies reduced prices by Rs4 to face competition from the drop in international price of milk powder.
Maharashtra requires around one crore litres of milk supply on a daily basis, while Mumbai alone requires around 70 lakh litres daily. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad require around 13 lakh litres of milk daily.
First Published: Jul 15, 2018 14:58 IST