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Dairy farmers call off stir after CM’s assurance in Punjab

Milk supply in the city will return to normality starting Saturday as the Progressive Dairy farmers Association (PDFA) and Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU, Kadian) called off their indefinite sit-in to mark their protest against the state government outside the Verka milk plant on Ferozepur road after last three days.

The agitation was called off on Friday evening after the farmers received an assurance from chief minister Bhagwant Mann regarding the release of pending payments, which was one of protesting farmers’ main demands.

Protesters said the state government had promised to provide ₹55 per kg fat in milk for dairy farmers at the end of their prior agitation in Mohali, which ended in the month of May. They claimed that Milkfed had been providing its share of ₹20 per kg fat, but the state government had failed to release the remaining ₹35 per kg fat payments for the farmers.

Speaking of the CM’s assurance, PDFA president Daljit Singh Sadarpura said Mann has assured them that the state would fulfil all of the farmers’ demands and not just of the pending payments,

“CM has promised that the remaining payment of ₹35 per kg fat will be released to the farmers by September 15. The payment will be made starting from May 21. Further, it has been assured that a survey will be conducted to ascertain the loss suffered by farmers due to lump skin disease and the report will be forwarded to the Union government for providing compensation to the farmers. The CM has also assured to bring a policy to stop adulteration during the next assembly session,” he said.

Following the assurance, Sadarpura said, the agitation was lifted. PDFA members, meanwhile, used the occasion to appreciate BKU (Kadian) for supporting the dairy farmers’ cause.

Dairy farmers had alleged that the state government failed to release their share of ₹35 per kg fat in accordance with a promise made earlier to increase the milk procurement price.

Further, they were also seeking compensation for the losses suffered by dairy owners due to the outbreak of the lumpy skin disease that affected several cattle in the region. A policy for controlling milk adulteration was also one of their main demands. .

Stir affects supply

The supply of Verka milk remained affected because of the sit-in as protesters blocked the main gate of the city plant. Consequently, milk supply to several outlets and shops was cut off on Friday evening.

Movement of traffic was also disturbed as hundreds of farmers with modified tractor-trolleys blocked the main Ferozepur road outside the plant and the traffic was diverted to service lanes.

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