CHENNAI: From Friday onwards, both private and Aavin milk distributors will be sold in select retail shops only between 3.30 am and 9 am across the state, according to milk distributors.
The decision said to be taken by Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Welfare Association on Thursday, on the second day of statewide lockdown after the police allegedly asked them to restrict the sale of milk owing to the increasing gathering of people at retail shops.
With this, private milk sachets and Aavin will be sold only in over 10,000 retail shops owned by milk dealers in the city, said S A Ponnusamy, State president, Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Welfare Association.
“From Friday we will not distribute milk to about 50,000 small retail shops across City and the milk will only be sold at retail bunks owned by dealers,” added Ponnusamy.
Ponnusamy said the consumers should buy the milk at one go before 9 am so as to reduce their movement.
The Chennai city’s per day milk demand is 27 lakh litre of which 14 to 15 lakh litre being catered by private milk companies – mostly for hotels and tea shops. The Aavin supplies about 12 lakh litre a day.
Since all the hotels and tea shops are closed since Tuesday, the private companies reduced their milk supply. However, Aavin milk is being sold at retail shops throughout the day.
Police sources told The New Indian Express that the unrestrained sale of milk has defeated the purpose of the lockdown in many places.
A large number of youths who violated the curfew order claimed that they came out for buying the milk, said an Assistant Commissioner of Police in North Chennai.
“Many small retail shops sell cigarettes and other junk items opened under guise of selling milk. As a result, the action is being taken against the retail shoppers,” added the police officer.
On Wednesday, a retailer at Korukkupet was taken to R K Nagar police station and released later for allowing too many people in his store.
“Since the milk will not be distributed to over 50,000 retail outlets, shops which don’t sell any essential food items will have to be closed thereby curtailing the people’s movement,” added the industrial sources.
When contacted Aavin officials said, “Aavin milk will be sold during working hours of Aavin parlours and authorized dealers across the City”.