Stalin said it has been a norm in India to let cooperatives thrive without infringing on each other’s milk shed areas.
Chief minister M K Stalin on Thursday sought Union home minister Amit Shah’s intervention in directing Gujarat-based milk cooperative Amul to desist from procurement from milk shed of Tamil Nadu’s cooperative Aavin, saying it will create unhealthy competition.
This comes after the Congress accused the Bhartiya Janata Party of trying to “strangulate” Nandini, Karnataka’s milk cooperative, in the run-up to the polls in that state after Shah, who is from Gujarat and also the cooperation minister, spoke about the collaboration between the milk cooperatives. The Congress stormed back to power in Karnataka this month.
In a letter to Shah, Stalin said Amul was until now just selling its products through outlets in Tamil Nadu and that it has come to their notice that the Gujarat-based cooperative has utilised its multi-state licence to install chilling centres and a processing plant in Krishnagiri district. He added Amul plans to procure milk in and around Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupathur, Kancheepuram, and Tiruvallur districts.
Stalin said it has been a norm in India to let cooperatives thrive without infringing on each other’s milk shed areas. He added such cross-procurement goes against the spirit of Operation White Flood, the project launched in 1970 that transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into its largest producer.
“It would exacerbate problems for the consumers given the prevailing milk shortage scenario in the country,” Stalin wrote. “This act of AMUL infringes on Aavin’s milk shed area which has been nurtured in true cooperative spirit over decades.”
He called regional cooperatives the bedrock of dairy development in the states. “...they are better placed to engage and nurture producers and to cushion consumers from arbitrary price hikes. Therefore, I request your urgent intervention to direct Amul to desist from milk procurement from the milk shed area of Aavin in Tamil Nadu with immediate effect.”
He said 9,673 milk producers’ co-operative societies function for the benefit of rural milk producers and consumers under the Aavin cooperative, which Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited and the state government own. “They procure 35 LLPD of milk from about 4.5 lakh pouring members,” Stalin said. He added under this arrangement, the milk producers are assured of remunerative and uniform prices throughout the year.
Stalin wrote Aavin provides cattle feed, fodder, mineral mixture, animal health care, and breeding services for animals of milk producers. “In addition, it ensures the supply of quality milk and milk products to consumers at one of the lowest prices in our country,” Stalin said. “Thus, Aavin plays a vital role in improving the livelihood of rural milk producers and meeting the nutritional requirement of consumers.”