Milk shortages may increase as farmer strike intensifies in Maharashtra
PUNE: Voluntary strike of farmers agitated by commodity prices remaining non-remunerative for almost a year has disturbed milk supply in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Mumbai is likely to face a big shortage of milk on Sunday, if the agitating farmers succeed in further holding back milk supplies on Friday night and Saturday.
“We are facing lot of difficulties in collecting milk and our milk collection has been impacted at some places. But we are trying to do our maximum to keep the supplies normal,” said RS Sodhi, managing director, The Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul).
In neighbouring Madhya Pradesh too, farmers threw vegetables and milk on roads to protest against government policies. “Milk supply to Indore and Bhopal has been disturbed too,” said Sodhi.
The Mahanand Dairy from Mumbai, which gets 3 lakh litre milk every day, could get only 15,000 litre for Friday.
“We had stock of about 2.5 lakh litres and will make some milk from powder and yet we may feel some shortage on Saturday,” said an official of Mahanand, who did not want to be identified.
Farmers strike intensified in Maharashtra on Friday, further cutting down on supplies of milk, fruits and vegetables. Various farmer organisations and political parties like Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) extended their support to the voluntary leaderless farmers’ strike in the state primarily against low commodity prices and absence of government policies to support them.
Sharad Pawar, former union agricultural minister and head of NCP appealed to the farmers to remain united till their demands, including that of loan waiver is accepted. “This is historic though unfortunate strike of farmers. Before elections, BJP had promised farmers to implement recommendations of Swaminathan Committee and now it is not ready to implement the same,” said Pawar.
Like most of the agricultural markets in Maharashtra, Pimapalgaon APMC in Nashik district, known for its onion trade, had a deserted look on Friday. Vegetable prices shot up by about 50% in metro cities.
Though social worker Anna Hazare offered to mediate between agitating farmers and the state government to arrive at a solution to the strike, farmers were not ready to accept his leadership.
Source: ECONOMIC TIMES