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Milk Supply Hit Across Maharashtra as Farmers Agitate Over Hike in Procurement Price

Against the 2.4 crore litres of milk being supplied by farmers every day in the state, only 25 lakh litres was supplied on Monday.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:July 16, 2018, 3:26 PM IST

Mumbai: Milk supply across Maharashtra was disrupted on Monday as farmers began their agitation against continuous decline prices.

Against the 2.4 crore litres of milk being supplied by farmers every day in the state, only 25 lakh litres was supplied on Monday, claimed farmer leader Raju Shetti. His organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana has called for an indefinite strike.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier claimed that the milk supply to urban areas won’t be affected due to the strike.

The protesters’ only demand is an increase in the procurement price of milk by Rs 5. “Either increase the procurement price by Rs 5, or directly deposit an additional money of Rs 5 per litre in each dairy farmer’s account,” Shetti told CNN News18 from Pandharpur.

The demand is expected to put an additional burden of Rs 400 crore on the already strained state coffers.

Farmer leaders have claimed that dairy farmers get a remuneration of Rs 17 per litre, whereas the production cost is Rs 35. They have claimed that subsidy to milk powder producing companies has not benefited farmers in any way.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which jumped in the fray in support of the protest, claimed that it used to offer Rs 28 to farmers for one litre milk. The Congress too has supported the agitation.

Meanwhile, All India Kisan Sabha extended support to the protest. It condemned the restraining orders issued by the law enforcement agencies.

"The legitimate demands of the struggle are implementation of remunerative price for milk at the declared minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 27 per litre instead of Rs 17 per litre now. Failing this the state government should pay the difference directly to the milk producers under the 'Bhavantar' scheme,” AIKS leader Dr Ashok Dhawale said.

He criticised the government for its actions against activists involved in this struggle, instead of acceding to the legitimate demands of the milk farmers.

He further added that the police have time and again sent notices to AIKS activists and demanded that the state government must immediately concede and implement the demands of the milk farmers who are suffering severe losses for the last several months.

Meanwhile, the farmers’ issue has led to heated discussion in both the Houses of the state legislature.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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