CHENNAI: Milk vendors in the city are facing a peculiar problem - the crates in which 500 ml milk sachets are stored are getting stolen by the thousands. What is worse, local police are allegedly refusing to accept complaints despite traders submitting CCTV footage that even shows the identity of the thieves. Crying foul over this, milk vendors approached senior police officials during the grievances redressal day to raise the issue.
Vendors alleged that they have lost about 20,000 crates in just three months in areas such as Ayanavaram, Otteri, Pulianthope, Tiruvottiyur, Red Hills, Kolathur, T Nagar, Chinthadripet, Royapettah, Aminjikarai, Shenoy Nagar, KK Nagar, Saligramam, Vadapalani, Pallavaram, Madipakkam and Pallikaranai. In one such incident on Wednesday last, just four minutes after the shutters were downed at Jayaseelan Agency, a shop located on Govindharajan street, Ayyavu Colony in Aminjikarai, a thief landed and made away with all the milk crates kept outside the shop. The petitioner sought to arrest the thief and recover the crates using the CCTV grab.
Speaking to Express, president of Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Welfare Association SA Ponnusamy said the miscreants seemed to be well aware of their operating hours. “Mostly, the morning supply begins to arrive by 2 am. The empty crates, for which dealers pay a deposit, will be kept ready outside the shop and exchanged for the full crates. We get to sleep for hardly two hours between 11.30 pm and 2.30 am and that too until supply arrives. That is the time the miscreants strike,” he said.
Further, he alleged that local police refuse to take complaints since the crates were being left outside the shop. “Local police lament that they are short of personnel to crack crimes and handling this complaint would only add to their burden,” he said.
Asked as to what happens to the stolen crates, Ponnusamy said they were either being sold to some start-up milk companies or dealers, or sold as scrap for recycling. A new crate costs between Rs 300 - 450. The milk company deducts money for the missing crates from the monthly commission, he said
The association has been asked to approach the Anna Nagar DCP, while its members said they were planning to petition the CM’s Special Cell as well.