Several dairies in Maharashtra have claimed that the state government owes them nearly Rs 200 crore in subsidies. Their complaint comes over 18 months after the state government announced multiple subsidies in the sector to hike the procurement price of milk, which the dairies pay to farmers.
Last year, to quell discontent about low procurement prices, the state government had announced a package of subsidies to help the dairies pay farmers a higher amount.
Dairies which export skimmed milk powder (SMP) were promised a Rs 50 per kilo subsidy, while non-exporting dairies would get a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre of milk, to help them pay farmers a minimum price of Rs 25 per litre. The second subsidy was revised to Rs 3 per litre before being discontinued in October.
Dairies in Maharashtra have exported 10,000 tonnes of SMP but are yet to received the promised subsidies, worth nearly Rs 50 crore, said Dasarath Mane, chairman of the Pune-based Indapur Dairy and Milk Products Limited. “Dairies had exported SMP at around Rs 100 per kg as against the cost of production of Rs 165 per kg. The state government’s subsidy and the central government’s 10 per cent subsidy was to cover both the cost of production as well as the cost of export. But the subsidy is yet to be credited to us,” he said.
Initially, dairies had started paying farmers a procurement price of Rs 25 per litre and as per the government’s directive, had submitted the bank details of the payment made to farmers, said Mane. The state government was supposed to refund the amount to the dairies but till date, around Rs 150 crore worth of subsidies were yet to be paid, said Mane.
The pending dues have affected the dairies’ ability to pay farmers a better price for milk, he said.
Several dairies in Pune, Satara, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Marathwada are paying around Rs 27-28 per litre while dairies in Sangli and Kolhapur are still paying Rs 25 per litre. Arun Narke, director of the Kolhapur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union, the owner of the brand Gokul, said they were not able to pay farmers as the government was yet to clear their dues. “Gokul is yet to be paid subsidies worth Rs 30 crore,” he said.