Mumbai: The milk agitation has intensified in parts of Western and Northern Maharashtra. Milk tankers from Gujarat were forcefully stopped by the protesters’ leader Raju Shetti, MP, Palghar. A few city-based dealers said 25 per cent less was supplied to them on Tuesday than normal but their stock would last till Wednesday.
As state government has taken adequate measures on first two days, milk tankers could reach Mumbai on Tuesday also. Police are giving security to tankers from Pune Expressway to Mumbai border. This has helped small dairies in Mumbai and other surrounding cities. Also, city's internal production of milk and milk being gathered locally in Palghar and Thane districts is not disturbed. According to experts the supply of processed milk will continue in city till Wednesday. But, if the agitation continues beyond that then it may affect the market.
“As of now there is manageable milk shortage with us. Also we have pasteurized milk packed in plastic bags for daily consumers. But this stock could be used till four days. So, the real picture of milk agitation will come to know by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning,” said Amit Patil, manager of Subhash Dairy, Dombivli MIDC.
Meanwhile, protesters leader Raju Shetti reached Dapcheri, Palghar for preventing milk tankers from Gujarat entering in Maharashtra. Almost 80 tankers were on their way to Mumbai on Tuesday when Mr Shetti reached there, His workers warned drivers to go back to Gujarat otherwise they will have to face serious consequences. “The chief minister Devendra Fadnavis claims that government has taken adequate measures. Are these tankers from Gujarat is part of that measure? Farmers in Maharashtra are dying and Mr Fadnavis is getting milk from Gujarat. This shows the intention of state government to handle the milk issue here,” said Mr Shetti.
Balu Kharat, a dealer of Mahananda milk Borivali and Kandivali area, said that the supply of milk to his outlet is 25 per cent less. He said he only rece-ived 300 crates of Maha-nanda milk on Tuesday against the usual 370 cra-tes per day. He also said that 140 crates of Gokul milk on Tuesday were received instead of 150.
Vinayak Patil, who is associated with Maha-nanda dairy, said that he was in Islampur, Sangli where thousands of farmers protested against government and claimed that not a single milk tanker left for Mumbai on Tuesday.
Dairies generally send milk in two different manners. First, the raw milk sent through tankers to cities for instant sale is preserved in high quality refrigerators. The major share of this raw milk goes to smaller dairies outlets, sweet shops and even for factories like chocolates and other dairy products. The second is sending processed milk. Retail market is usually dependent on this. This pasteurized milk could be preserved for four days.
Need of milk on daily basis
Maharashtra’s daily procurement of milk through cooperative or private dairies is around Rs 1.40 crore litres. State also gets around 10 to 15 lakh litres milk from outside. State’s daily need of milk is around Rs 1.60 crore litres. Out of this, around 55 to 60 lakh litres is sold only in Mumbai. Other cities like Pune, Nagpur, and Auran-gabad also consumes major portion. Therefore, cutting milk supply of Mumbai can hurt the state’s dairy business of Rs 60 lakh litres.
Procurement in districts
Three districts of Northern Maharashtra i.e. Nashik, Ahmednagar and Jalgaon, five districts of Western Maharashtra i.e. Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur are the major milk producing districts of state. As Mr Shetti’s agitation for milk rates completed its second day, these districts witnessed major shut down of dairy industry. Kolhapur, Sangali, Solapur Monday collection went down by 45 per cent.