The opposition BJP on Saturday spearheaded protests demanding a hike in milk procurement prices for dairy farmers in various parts of Maharashtra. At many places, farmers poured milk on streets and briefly blocked roads by raising slogans.
Their main demands include increasing the subsidy to Rs 10 per litre for milk and revising milk procurement price to Rs 30 per litre. They have also demanded a hike in the export subsidy for milk powder per kg. Similar protests for better procurement prices for milk were held recently by various farmers' organisations like the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghantna (SSS), the Rayat Shektkari Sanghatana and the All India Kisan Sabha.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil targeted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the issues of dairy farmers.
"I want to know how many times did CM Thackeray visit Delhi to raise issues of milk producers in the state. If he doesn't know the issues of the dairy industry, he should send(to Delhi) leaders like Ajit Pawar (NCP) and Balasaheb Thorat (Congress) who have in-depth knowledge of the sector," he said.
The NCP and the Congress are constituents of the ShivSena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Another BJP leader Haribhau Bagade accused the NCP andthe Congress of "misleading" people on the issue of importing milk powder.
The Congress and the NCP had alleged that the Centre's policy to import milk powder is affecting the domestic dairy industry.
"It's an annual practice by the Centre to float tenders for importing milk powder. The Centre has not imported even a kilogram of milk powder so far," the former speaker of the Legislative Assembly said.
He said leaders of the NCP and the Congress should initiate measures to increase milk procurement rates for farmers.