The strict curfew imposed by the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad police commissioners in their respective areas has caught the dairies off guard. In a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Sunil Kedar, the Milk Producers and Processors Welfare Association has asked the police to allow sale of pouch milk in a different time frame than the present window of 10 am to 2 pm.
Since Monday, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations have declared strict curfew to control the spread of the coronavirus in their areas. The curfew has curtailed the time when shops selling essential commodities, like milk and food grains, can operate. Now, these shops can operate in the window of 10 am to 2 pm with social distancing norms being followed strictly by the buyers.
This timing has posed a challenge to the dairies as bulk sale of milk happens either in the morning between 6 am and 10 am or in the evening between 6 pm and 10 pm. The letter stated that the present curfew has created confusion among people who were used to buying milk in morning or evening hours. “At present, we have noticed severe crowding in shops, which has defeated the whole purpose of social distancing,” the letter said.
The union, which is an umbrella organisation of private and cooperative dairies in the state, has complained of some of their milk transporting trucks being stopped at toll nakas by the police. The letter has urged that proper instructions be given to the police so that vehicles carrying milk are not stopped. “We urge the government to allow sale of milk between 6 am and 10 am or from 7 am -11 am or in the evening between 6 pm and 10 pm,” the letter read.
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