The opposition BJP in Maharashtra, along with some farmers’ groups, took to the streets on Saturday to demand a subsidy scheme for dairy farmers. Senior party leaders held demonstrations across the state asking for a Rs 10 per litre subsidy for dairy farmers as well as a Rs 50 per kg export subsidy for skimmed milk powder (SMP).
Dairies across the state had taken to slashing their procurement prices after reporting drastic reduction in their returns. Before the nationwide lockdown in March, dairy farmers were paid at the rate of Rs 31 to Rs 32.50 per litre for their milk with 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent (SNF) (solid-not-fat).
Since the lockdown, the procurement prices have dropped to Rs 17-22.50 per litre. Reduced demand, especially due to the closure of the hotel restaurants and catering (HORECA) has seen dairies complaining of lower sales and increased stock of unsold SMP, which had affected their ability to pay farmers.
The BJP has been demanding a Rs 10 per litre subsidy for farmers to augment their earnings. The opposition has also demanded that dairies be paid Rs 50 per kg for export of SMP. They said it would help in farmers clock better realisation. Senior BJP leaders also pointed out how the then Devendra Fadnavis-led government had given a Rs 5 per litre subsidy for dairy farmers in 2018. The total subsidy paid to farmers was over Rs 690 crore.
Besides the BJP, All India Kisan Sabha — the farmers wing of CPIM — as well as Rayat Kranti Sangthana, the farmers outfit floated by former minister Sadabhau Khot, also participated in the agitation on Saturday. Khot and other members of the organisation stopped the transportation of milk.
BJP leaders across the state had also carried out agitation in various talukas and districts. In Ahmednagar, senior BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and others were arrested for protesting.
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