Nadiad: Verghese Kurien, the father of White Revolution in India and the founder of Amul, died after a brief spell of illness early on Sunday at Nadiad in Gujarat. He was 90.
Mr Kurien's body has been kept at the Sardar Hall of Amul dairy in Anand for people to pay their last respects.
"Mr Kurien died a natural death due to his age. He was suffering from kidney problems for quite some time and was admitted to a hospital in Nadiad. He passed away around 1:15 am today," said RS Sodhi, Managing Director of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF). Mr Kurien is survived by his wife Molly and daughter Nirmala.
Mr Kurien, the man behind Operation Flood, was the chief architect who made India the largest milk producer in the world. He helped modernise the Anand model of cooperative dairy development and engineered the White Revolution in India. Today over 10 million farmers at 200 dairies across the country produce over 20 million litres of milk every day.
In 1949, Mr Kurien decided to quit a lucrative government job to join a small-time dairy cooperative. Since then, milk procurement of the cooperative grew from a few hundred litre a day to over 90 lakh litre a day now under one of India's most popular brands - Amul.
Today, the turnover of Amul-led cooperatives stands at Rs 10,000 crore. The Amul group now consists of 15 district unions with 30 lakh farmer members in close to 16,000 villages of Gujarat. A majority of the cooperative members are women.
After the grand success of Amul, the model was replicated in several states where brands like Verka, Nandini, Sudha, Mahananda and Saras are dominating the market. The World Bank has identified the Amul model as one of the key tools to fight poverty. GCMMF receives frequent requests from African countries to assist them in replicating the model. Mr Kurien introduced some of the best international technology and practices in Amul that even rivals tried to copy.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condoled the death of Mr Kurien. In a condolence message he described him as an icon of India's cooperative movement and the dairy industry. (Read full message) President Pranab Mukherjee said Mr Kurien will be remembered as one who made enormous contributions to the fields of agriculture, rural development and dairying. Vice President Hamid Ansari said Mr Kurien "engineered the white revolution in India and made India the largest milk producer of the world. He is recognised as the man behind the success of the Amul brand."
In 2006, Mr Kurien was compelled to resign by his board members from the chairman's post of GCMMF, the top milk marketing cooperative body of the group.
(With inputs from Agencies)