Pune: Pune being an IT hub, one more amenity to those having erratic work schedules is in the offing for the first time in the city and also in Maharashtra in the form of an ATM (Any Time Milk) vending machines for a whole range of milk products.
Conceived by a milk co-operative which supplies over one lakh litre of cow milk in the region, the pilot project of Pune Zilla Sahakari Dudh Utpadkak Sangh or Katraj Dairy, is expected to take off within four months after a feasibility survey conducted by a team of dairy experts visiting the neighbouring Gujarat where such machines are already operating.
"We have surveyed the system at Anand operating such ATMs in Gujarat and once our experimental run is successful in Pune, we will be replicating these vending machines at different points in the city, making available a whole range of our milk products at the push of button and insertion of currency for the first time in Maharashtra," said Rambhau Tule, Chairman of the Sangh said.
The Sangh will have a target clientele of working class, including a large number of IT professionals who have erratic working hours enabling them to buy fresh milk to suit their schedules.
Viability of the Katraj dairy project is being assessed by a technical team of the Sangh which will study the operations of a vending machine at Akluj which facilitates tetra packs of milk, Tule said.
"If our pilot project is successful it will be the first of its kind milk ATM in the state vending not just milk packets but also other products such as shrikhand, ghee, pedhas, ice-cream, cheese, paneeer etc.using cold storage technology," he added.
"A consumer survey underway will also help us in identifying the spots for installing the machines as the traditional mindset of the consumer is to have milk home delivered," he noted.
The system will cut down on transportation and distribution network and cost that can result in a possible cut in the milk price supplied through machines, Tule said.
The Sangh which completed 50 years last year, collects 1.60 lakh litres of cow milk every day from about 1,000 member cooperatives in the district and is considered a leading milk cooperative in Western Maharashtra.