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Sudha vs Medha sparks off Bihar-Jharkhand milk war

Jharkhand asks COMFED to return the ownership of state’ properties - three dairy projects and a cattle feed plant

ranchi Updated: Jan 29, 2017 09:45 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Shudha’s milk plant - Ranchi Dairy at Dhurwa in Ranchi(Parwaz Khan/ HT Photo)

Fresh strife has been sparked off between Jharkhand and Bihar with the former asking Bihar State Milk Cooperative Federation Ltd (COMFED) to return the ownership of state’ properties - three dairy projects and a cattle feed plant - to the new state. But, COMFED and Bihar won’t oblige, saying it is multi-state property.

COMFED operates three dairy plants at Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Bokaro with producing capacity of three lakh litres per day and a cattle feed plant at Ranchi’s Hotwar area.

COMFED’s Sudha brand is major packaged milk supplier to Jharkhand, which supplies around 3 lakh litres of milk per day in cities. On the other hand, Jharkhand Milk Federation sells merely 50,000 litres packaged milk under Medha brand from its four dairy plants-Hotwar in Ranchi, Koderma, Latehar and Deoghar.

Jharkhand has embarked on a mission to bring about a white revolution by increasing the number of dairy plants and proposed acquisition of milk plants operated by COMFED in the state.

“The plants had been established by Bihar government before separation of the states and management of the plants had been given to COMFED. Ownership of the plants was with Bihar government. As per Bihar Reorganization Act, 2000, the plants should have been handed over to Jharkhand,” said Mukul Prasad, assistant director Jharkhand dairy development department (DDD).

State officials at a high level meeting on Friday put their demand up before Bihar and COMFED, but were told that the milk plants were registered as a multi-state cooperative society and its properties could not be divided.

“The three dairy plants and cattle feed plant in Jharkhand are not government property as they belong to a deemed multistate cooperative society that is COMFED. So, its property cannot be divided,” said COMFED managing director Seema Tripathi.

However, Prasad argued that if COMFED claimed ownership on the properties, it should produce documents related to it. “COMFED claims that Bihar government transferred the ownership to it in 2003. Bihar government cannot transfer Jharkhand’s property in 2003, as the state separated from Bihar in 2000,” Prasad said.

Earlier, Jharkhand had a long fight for handing over cadastral maps numbering 82,119 pending with Bihar government since separation of the two states.

Finally, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on June 3 last year had ordered his officials to transfer cadastral maps of eastern districts that went to Jharkhand after state’s bifurcation.

First Published: Jan 29, 2017 09:45 IST