Dairy farmers in Maharashtra state have been protesting against lower milk procurement prices during Covid since July 20th. These farmers are led by various organisations across Maharashtra with a support from opposition political parties. All India Kisan Sabha led thousands of dairy farmers to march in around 20 districts during the agitation.
Leaders from the BJP and the Rayat Kranti Sanghatana (a local party) were also seen shouting slogans against the ruling government. They also poured milk on the roads. Also read Maharashtra farmers seek Rs 10/liter as milk subsidy
This is the third such protest in the past 10 days. Chief Minister Thackeray’s government met with protest leaders earlier to listen to their demands and assure them that these will be looked into. The protestors continue continued ther agitation in the absence of any decision by the government.
The state government earlier announced a scheme to pay Rs 25 per liter to dairy farmers. The scheme finally discontinued on July 27th . As per Mr Nawale secretary AIKS, this scheme only benefitted 24% of state cooperative’s farmers only. It was not helping the smaller milk farmers in any way. Also read Is price subsidy the only option to support dairy farmers in Maharashtra ?
List of demands by farmers
In Palghar, farmers distributed free milk to poor people and also spilled it on roads as a sign of dissent. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has released a statement in which they listed several demands as follows
- State government must give direct subsidy of Rs 10 per litre to all milk producers. It will help them get at least Rs 30 per litre of milk as they were getting earlier.
- Centre must take back the June 26 TRQ notification clearing import of 10000 tonnes of milk powder; this will destroy the lives of milk farmers, the protesters said
- Export subsidy of Rs 50 per kg must be given for clearing large stocks of milk powder lying across the country.
- The centre must withdraw a notification allowing import of dairy products from the USA in exchange of generic medicine’s. exports Also read Indo-US Limited trade deal may impact dairy farmers unlimitedly
“The agitation has now begun. Farmers across villages are gathering and participating in the protest,” said Ajit Navale. He added that as a mark of protest, we are pouring milk on road . We are also tying cattle near the office of gram panchayats. The opposition in the state has also joined the protests.