Mumbai: Dairy farmers will continue to agitate, demanding hike in milk procurement prices until the Maharashtra government agrees, Swabhimani Paksha leader Raju Shetti, who is leading the protest said today.
The farmers have been holding protests in parts of the state since Monday, seeking a hike of Rs 5 per litre in the procurement prices.
“I am ready to withdraw the agitation if the milk purchase rate is fixed around Rs 25 per litre,” Shetti told reporters here.
The Lok Sabha member also said that his discussion with state Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan last night failed to resolve the issue.
Sources in the government had earlier said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked Mahajan to meet Shetti in a bid to end the agitation.
“Mahajan is still in Mumbai and we may meet again. I am ready if the state government mandates dairies to increase the purchase price of milk, I have no issues. But till then my agitation will continue,” Shetti said.
He further said: “A milk powder maker has enquired with me and is willing to purchase one lakh litres of milk daily at Rs 25 per litre. If he is ready to do the business then why the state is not keen on promoting such businessmen.”
The state’s proposal to provide a subsidy of Rs 2 to 3 per litre will benefit dairies and milk powder makers but there is no guarantee if they would pass it on to farmers, he said.
Yesterday, Shetti had vowed to stop trains carrying milk to Maharashtra from Gujarat.
The Western Railway (WR) had said on Tuesday that 88,000 litres of milk would be supplied via train daily for six days to meet the demand in Mumbai.
A WR official had said that milk tankers will be attached to the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central passenger train to mitigate problems faced by consumers.
The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna started the protest on Monday and halted milk tankers at several places across the state.
Supporters of the Kolhapur-based farmers’ organisation have staged protests in districts like Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Nanded and Aurangabad.
The Gujarat Dairy Development Corporation Limited had earlier asked the railways to make provisions for the transportation of additional supply of milk through trains.