The Maharashtra government on Tuesday has decided to procure 10 lakh litres of milk per day at Rs 25 per litre, reports Financial Express. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said the collection of milk would begin in 4-5 days and continue for two months.
He said the coronavirus outbreak and the resultant lockdown had hit the dairy sector hard and almost 10 lakh litres of the 12 lakh litres of milk produced was going unsold and market rates had reached a low of Rs 15 -17 per litre.
“The state government will procure 10 lakh litres of milk through milk cooperative societies at Rs 25 per litre. The stock will be used to make milk powder which will be stored and sold online. It will be implemented through the State Milk Cooperative Federation,” Pawar said. The minister said that Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for this initiative.
Milk Producers and Processors’ Welfare Federation (MPPWF), said that while the collection of milk has not been affected, sale of milk has dropped significantly. “Of the approximate 1 crore litres of milk that is collected in the state on daily basis, around 50 lakh litres remains unsold. This has prompted several dairies to stop collection of milk because these dairies do not have the means to convert milk into milk powder. Therefore, the minister’s decision comes as a welcome move for the sector,” said Prakash Kutwal, secretary, MPPWF.
Milk traders claim that the excess milk is a result of drop in the demand in urban areas, mainly IT industry, hotel industry, restaurants, canteens and several consumers who have gone back to their native towns. The government has now issued passes for distributors and delivery vans and trucks as an essential service.