The Maharashtra unit of BJP on Sunday said it will launch a statewide agitation on August 1 against the steep decline in milk rates that has landed dairy farmers in severe financial crisis across the state. BJP’s allies, including the Republican Party of India, Ryat Kranti Party, Shiv Sangram and Rashtriya Samaj Party, will also join the protest.
The decision was taken at a meeting held on Sunday. “The agitation was necessitated following the lack of response from the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. They have not considered any demand made by the BJP and its allies to help dairy farmers. Therefore, we will take to the streets in a peaceful manner,” Sujitsingh Thakur, general secretary of Maharashtra BJP, told the media.
Milk rates have come down from Rs 27 to Rs 15 per litre due to decline in demand in the last four months owing to the nationwide lockdown amid Covid-19 pandemic. Dairy farmers had last week staged a protest where they poured milk from tankers on the road to express their anger.
Last week, the BJP held a day-long protest at district collectors office across the state. They had submitted a charter of demands to help dairy farmers and warned the government of intensifying the agitation.
Thakur said, “The BJP wants government to give Rs 10 per litre subsidy on milk and Rs 50 per kg on milk powder. The subsidy is must to stabilise milk rates, which have declined to Rs 15-16 per litre.”
However, Maharashtra Dairy Development Minister Sunil Kedar said, “Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar along with other cabinet ministers will soon take a decision on the matter. We have already held a meeting with representatives of dairy farmers, private and cooperative milk unions and all stakeholders…”
He added, “We want to point out that the state government also expects positive response from Centre to address the milk crisis.”
On Sunday, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, former agriculture minister Anil Bonde, Ryat Kranti leader Sadabhau Khot, Rashtriya Samaj Party chief Madadev Jankar, Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale and Shiv Sangram chief Vinayak Mete were present at the meeting.
Bonde said, “The BJP has placed very simple demands to the government, who appears indifferent to the farmers’ problems. They have not even assured any financial help. Instead, cabinet ministers are blaming the Centre for milk crisis, which is ridiculous. The ruling parties are indulging in false campaign. But that will not resolve the crisis. The dairy farmers want immediate relief.”
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