Two days after a large number of aggrieved farmers resorted to vandalism at the Anand office of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union, popularly known as Amul, demanding higher bonus for the milk they sell to the country’s oldest dairy co-operative, the management organised a meeting of the farmers from Anand and Kheda districts who are associated with it under the banner, “Amul Bachao Sammelan”.
The meeting, which was attended by around 10,000-strong farmers, who are members of the dairy co-operative union, was organised apparently as a show of strength for the chairman and Congress MLA from Thasra, Ramsinh Parmar. He will be facing yet another election this year for the chairmanship of the co-operative, one of the two co-operatives in the state which is under the chairmen affiliated to Congress. Parmar hinted at the role of the members affiliated with the BJP behind creating trouble at the Amul campus on Wednesday.
“This is the first time since its foundation that some anti-social elements have tried to defame Amul by spreading lies about bonus. The persons who created trouble two days back were anti-social elements who were drunk. They had come from Nadiad and were not ready for any discussion with the management, but had already decided upon creating trouble,” Parmar told the gathering.
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He further added that the trouble-making elements were owners of a handful of cattle houses, who tried to dictate terms with the management. Adding that the gathering was organised to discuss the events of Wednesday between the management and the stakeholders a day before the Annual General Meeting scheduled for Saturday, Parmar said that the farmers were eager to know what transpired on that day. “A large number of people damaged Amul’s office by breaking police cordon and shouted anti-Amul slogans. When the matter spread, farmers across around 1,200 milk societies under the co-operative, approached us and wanted to know about the actual reason behind this, which is what necessitated Amul Bachao Sammelan,” he said.
“The lie being spread by a handful of cattle house owners who say we pay them 7% bonus needs to be corrected. Our union members contributed 20 lakh litre milk last year and the amount is the same this year as well. Our bonus, which is decided by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, depends on this. As far as bonus to be given to the members is concerned, we have been offering 15-25% every year after calculation, but the issue being raised by these people is baseless,” Parmar said.
A farmer, Pranaybhai Sodha, who came to attend the meeting from Jetpur village in Kathlal, said he was asked by the milk society member of his village to attend the meeting. “We have no information on what happened, but we decided to attend the meeting to understand the issue,” he said.