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Heritage share price might have been rigged on the bourses: Jagan

Asserting that the partnership with Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul) will make dairy farming a profitable business for nearly 30 lakh women, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has accused his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu of killing cooperative dairies in the State to benefit private ones such as Sangam, Visakha and Jersey and his own Heritage Dairy.

He said the consistency with which Heritage shares traded at high prices whenever Mr. Naidu was in power made one wonder if his company, which flourished at the cost of Chittoor dairy and many small milk unions, resorted to rigging on the stock exchanges.

Making a statement in the Legislative Assembly on “Dairy industry in Andhra Pradesh — partnership with Amul” on Friday, Mr. Jagan said Mr. Naidu had intentionally brought A.P. Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Act (APMACS) and absorbed six district milk unions into it (APMACS). Of late, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Prakasam districts cooperative milk unions metamorphosed into private companies.

In what was a clear abuse of his official position as Chief Minister, Mr. Naidu had facilitated a loan arrangement for farmers with Bank of Baroda with a rider that they should supply milk to Heritage.

As Mr. Naidu wiped out the cooperative dairies, the AP Dairy Development Corporation became defunct with milk procurement limited to barely 800 villages and a majority of the Bulk Milk Cooling Units (BMCUs) shut down.

Amul, with which the Andhra Pradesh government entered into an MoU on July 21, would pay at least ₹5 more than the existing price per litre of cow and buffalo milk and distribute the profit as bonus to farmers.

“Amul is not just the largest dairy in the country, but also stands eighth in the international market. Our government will promote 9,000-plus women cooperative dairy societies and create infrastructure like buildings, BMCUs and automatic milk collection units (with the support of Amul),” Mr. Jagan said, the project had already been piloted in Chittoor, Kadapa and Prakasam districts.

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