Milk supply in Nagpur to be hit, as Raju Shetti-led farmers’ group call for protest

Mumbai: The Swambhimani Shetkari Sanghatana of Raju Shetti — despite a clear warning from the authorities – is determined to disrupt milk supply to Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur from Sunday midnight.

The SSS is agitated over the continuous fall in milk prices and is demanding that Rs 30 per litre be fixed as minimum selling price, as has been done in the case of sugar recently. Being seasonal in nature, cow milk prices dip to Rs 26-27 a litre during lean season – that is, in summer months.

It is also demanding that a Rs 5 per litre subsidy be transferred directly into the milk producing farmers’ accounts. The state government is not inclined as the direct subsidy transfer would cost it Rs 4 billion annually. Karnataka has one such scheme in place.

Even though the strike was scheduled to begin from July 16, matters went out of hand on Sunday after a Nagpur-bound milk tanker was stoned in Amravati district. Ravikant Tupkar, state president of SSS, said, “No milk tanker will be allowed to enter Maharashtra. If someone tries to enter the state under police cover, our activists will create a law and order situation.”

All routes from Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh will be under surveillance of the SSS, it is claimed. Result: All milk vans heading for cities, either from farmlands or dairy companies-owned collection centres, would be on the radar of the SSS. The Sanghatana, until recently, was a part of the NDA. Other farmer bodies have not yet clarified their stand on their support to the Sanghatana.