Farmers organisations across Maharashtra are protesting low procurement rates of co-operative and private dairies. The protests, gathered under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha, saw thousands of dairy farmers marching in around 20 districts.
In Palghar, farmers distributed free milk to poor people and also spilled it on roads as a sign of dissent.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has released a statement in which they listed several demands, including asking the centre to withdraw a notification clearing import of milk and milk products from the United States in exchange for export of generic medicines.
The demands also include:
- State government must give direct subsidy of Rs 10 per litre to all milk producers, so they can get the Rs 30 per litre of milk before the Covid lockdown
- Centre must take back the June 26 notification clearing import of 10 lakh tonnes of milk powder; this will destroy the lives of milk farmers, the protesters said
- Export subsidy of Rs 50 per kg must be given for large stocks of domestically manufactured milk powder lying in warehouses across the country
"The agitation has now begun. Farmers across villages are gathering and participating in the protest," said Ajit Navale, the AIKS General Secretary said, adding, "As a mark of protest, we are pouring milk on road and also tying cattle near the office of gram panchayats".
The opposition in the state has also joined the protests.
At various places, leaders from the BJP and the Rayat Kranti Sanghatana (a local party) were seen shouting slogans against the ruling MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government and pouring milk on the road.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was targeted by Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil who was quoted by news agency PTI as saying: "I want to know how many times Chief Minister Thackeray visited Delhi to raise the issues of milk producers in the state".
This is the third such protest in the past 10 days. Chief Minister Thackeray's government met with protest leaders earlier to listen to their demands and assure them that these will be looked into.
However, the demands were not fulfilled, the protesters said today as they intensified their agitations.
With input from PTI