Probe panel gives clean chit to KMF on milk powder unit

Probe panel gives clean chit to KMF on milk powder unit

 The committee set up to look into the alleged irregularities in Karnataka Milk Federation, during the tenure of its former managing director S N Jayaram, has noted that there were no such irregularities, said Cooperation Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad.

Addressing the media in Bengaluru on Wednesday, Prasad said that it was now the prerogative of the KMF board to ratify the decisions taken earlier, or to call for fresh tenders.

Channappa Gowda, Secretary of Animal Husbandry (also one of KMF directors) had objected to the procedures adopted for the setting up of a milk powder unit in Kannamangala in Channapatna taluk in Ramanagar district.

During a Board meeting in August, he had put up a dissent note stating that there was no transparency with regard to the implementation of the Rs 199-crore project, and that there had been delay in the tender procedure.

Subsequently, JD(S) MLA H D Revanna had also written to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stating that the KMF had violated the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act, 1999, and had demanded an inquiry into the matter.The MLA had charged that the tender process was initiated in July 2014, but the work order was issued on the day of Jayaram's retirement on September 30, 2015.

The matter was referred to a committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary of Cooperation for inquiry. The committee has now furnished a report stating that there were no violations, and that there was no need for government intervention.

Tetra packs

The minister also said that KMF was exploring different options to tackle the problem of excess milk production. Presently around 75 lakh litres of milk is being produced by the 13 milk unions everyday.

As the demand in the state is only around 35 lakh litres, the remaining milk is being processed into milk powder. Due to lack of infrastructure to convert milk into milk powder, KMF has been depending on milk powder units in Maharashtra to process the same. Because of this, KMF has been incurring heavy transportation costs.

Also, owing to the short shelf life of milk, it has been decided to set up Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing units and milk powder units across the State, he added.
The minister said that though there was a demand by milk unions to hike the milk prices by Rs four, the government had not taken any decision to this effect.

He also said that Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, which has stopped purchasing butter from KMF, might resume the purchases from next year. The quality of the ladoos produced was not up to mark, and hence TTD might reverse its decision, he added.

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