Manmul deducts `1.5 per litre; farmers irked

Milk societies to stage massive protest in front of Manmul on Nov 26

 Protests against the recent order of Mandya Milk Union Ltd (Manmul) to deduct of Rs 1.5 per litre of the milk purchased from farmers, have been intensified in the district during the past few days. Despite the opposition by farmers against the order, elected representatives are yet to take a stand on the same.

Manmul has started deducting the amount from October 1, to raise funds for the construction of a mega dairy. The Union procures 6.25 lakh litres of milk everyday from farmers across the district. By deducting Rs 1.5 per litre, it will raise Rs 9.37 lakh everyday and Rs 2.81 crore every month.

Milk producer societies however complain that 15 paise per litre is being deducted since 2009, “to provide basic facilities”, and Manmul had failed to disclose details of the amount thus collected, and its spending.

According to Krishna Prakash, a member of one of the milk producer societies, said that farmers were not opposed to the construction of a mega dairy. “However, it is inappropriate to collect funds for the same from farmers. Farmers have already been hit by the escalating production cost, which has led the State government to give a support price of Rs four per litre. In such a situation, deducting Rs 1.5 per litre will increase the burden on farmers,” he said.

Karnataka Milk Federation, he said, had proposed to increase the price of a litre of milk and then collect Rs two per litre from farmers. “However, Manmul is robbing farmers in broad daylight,” he alleged.

Irregular rainfall, power shortage and other issues had hit agriculture badly in the region, forcing farmers to shift to animal husbandry. By introducing such moves, farmers were being pushed towards desperation, Krishna added.

According to Manmul president, Kadalur Ramakrishna, the proposed mega dairy will cost the milk union Rs 200 crore. The dairy when completed will be able to process 12 lakh litres of milk everyday.

“Of the Rs 200 crore, Manmul has to invest Rs 60 crore, as its share. We have decided to raise the remaining amount in the form of loans,” he said.

To raise Rs 60 crore, Manmul has to deduct Rs 1.5 litre for a period of two years, he said. He added that the 15 paise collected per litre, since 2009, was being used for the benefit of milk producer societies, like the construction of new buildings. 

Manmul representatives said that cost of a litre of milk had increased from Rs 17 per litre last October, to Rs 23.5 per litre in March this year. The money was being deducted after the price had been increased, they said.

Board meeting today

Following protests against the deduction of Rs 1.5 per litre by Manmul, administrative board of the Union will meet today.

The meeting will discuss the pros and cons of the ongoing deduction and take a final stand on the issue, Ramakrishna said.

Milk producer societies and farmers will stage a protest in front of the Union on November 26.

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