Milk Price War
Fair milk price is another major issue taken up by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. Farmers supplying milk to cooperative milk processing units in Kolhapur are protesting under the banner of SSS against the directors of these units for not paying a fair price . Most of the villages in south Maharashtra have primary cooperative milk dairies that collect milk from local farmers and supply it to milk processing units. After pasteurizing and packing the milk, the processing units supply it to urban areas in the state, including Mumbai.
Raju Shetti, MP and chief of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), who has earlier launched a protest against sugar barons, has now mobilized the Farmers’ United Front to fight the milk barons. Farmers have demanded that they be paid Rs 18 per litre against the Rs 12 they get now. Pasteurized and packaged milk is sold at Rs 20 per litre in Kolhapur and other cities and at Rs 24 per litre in Mumbai. About 11 lakh litres of milk is collected and distributed every day.
According to us, while pasteurizing, packaging and transporting milk cost Rs 6 per litre, the remaining Rs 6 is the profit, which means processing units make a profit of Rs 66 lakh a day. We allege that the profit is distributed among the directors who have amassed wealth and assets while the farmers do not get a fair price. The farmers have observed a one-day bandh and if the directors did not respond, the protests would be intensified.
The recent decision of government to reduce milk price is unfortunate and Sanghtana has planned to protest it by all means.