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Seeking subsidy, Swabhimani threat to stop milk supply to Mumbai

Raju Shetti demanded Rs 5 per litre as subsidy for dairy farmers to help them tide over the present spate of low procurement prices.

Raju Shetti, Farmer leader Raju Shetti, Raju Shetti farmer leader, India news, Indian Express Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Swabhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti. (file photo)

SWABHIMANI SHETKARI Sanghatana leader and Swabhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti on Friday warned that milk supply to Mumbai would be stopped from July 16 if the state government failed to provide subsidy to farmers in the dairy sector. Addressing his supporters, who had travelled to Pune to take part in the ‘Kaifiyat Yatra’, Shetti demanded Rs 5 per litre as subsidy for dairy farmers to help them tide over the present spate of low procurement prices.

Making a strong case for direct subsidy, Shetti cited the example of Karnataka where the government is running such a scheme for the last few years. “The subsidy should be given for a few months till the crisis is over,” he said. Shetti claimed the total cost of running the subsidy programme would be around Rs 400 crore. The MP, who had walked out of the ruling NDA, announced: “In case the government failed to adhere to our request, we would stop the supply of milk to Mumbai from July 16.”

Unsold stock of skimmed milk powder (SMP) and the imposition of Goods and Services Tax on by-products have seen dairies slashing procurement prices at the farm gate level. Most dairies are paying farmers between Rs 17 to Rs 22 per litre for milk with 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent solid not fat. Recently, Gokul — the Kolhapur Cooperative Milk Union — had reduced its procurement price from Rs 25 to Rs 23 per litre in view of the mounting losses. Dairies have asked for subsidies to export the SMP, the unsold stock of which is estimated to be around 3.5 lakh tonne across the country.

Milk to the urban market of Mumbai is generally supplied from Kolhapur and Sangli districts, where Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana has a strong presence. Gokul alone supplies around 7 lakh litres to the Mumbai market, while Warna, another cooperative dairy, supplies 2.5 lakh litres per day to the metropolis. Amul and Nandini, the brand of the Karnataka Milk Federation, are the other important players in the city.

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First published on: 30-06-2018 at 01:55 IST
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