MUMBAI: In a bid to pacify the agitating dairy farmers, Maharashtra government on Thursday announced that the minimum procurement rate for milk has been fixed to Rs 25.
The decision was made at a meeting of members from co-operative and private dairies and milk distributors with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Chairman and Speaker of the state legislature and leaders from all parties. Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister Mahadeo Jankar announced the decision in the state legislature after the meeting in the evening.
While the government had last week announced a subsidy of Rs 50/kg for export of milk powder and Rs 5/litre for export of milk to be paid to the dairies, a section of the dairies announced increase in milk price by RS 3/litre from July 21.
In line with the decisions the representative from the dairy organizations agreed to raise the milk procurement rates to Rs 25/liter, Jankar told the house. He also added that the decision won't result in hike in milk rates for the end consumer.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) MP Raju Shetti had earlier in the day while speaking to reporters had said that the stir of dairy farmers being spearheaded by him would be withdrawn if the dairies assure Rs 25/liter rates for farmers.
Shetti also had discussions with state Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan last night. However, "We failed to come to a common ground," Shetti told journalists in the Mumbai.
"State's proposal to provide a subsidy of Rs 2-3 per litre will benefit dairies and milk powder makers, but there is no guarantee if they would pass it on to farmers, he added. Shetti had also demanded that the government subsidy for milk be directly transferred to the bank accounts of dairy farmers.
However, the demand has not been accepted by the government saying that since the milk procurement is not too organized activity, the DBT exercise would be difficult to implement.
Meanwhile, sources said that Shetti is likely to have another round of discussions with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tonight after which the stir is likely to end. Since Shetti is an MP originally from the BJP fold, the party is also trying to broker support for Modi government with him, the sources said.