Farmers’ protest may lead to milk shortage

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Raju Shetti said, “Despite several protests by SSS demanding higher prices for milk, the government has ignored us. Similarly, the government is using their force against us and we would not budge.”

PUNE: While milk supply the city was not much affected on the first day of the protest called by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) demanding a higher price for cow milk, SSS has decided to continue the protest and block the supply of milk across Maharashtra which may lead to shortage. 

SSS leader Raju Shetti on Monday morning visited the Dagdusheth Ganpati temple and offered milk to Lord Ganesh. Shetti said, “Despite several protests by SSS demanding higher prices for milk, the government has ignored us. Similarly, the government is using their force against us and we would not budge.”

Protestors were seen throwing away milk pouches on road. Yogesh Pande, the spokesperson of SSS, said, “We are demanding Rs 5 subsidy per litre of cow milk. We are not happy with this decision. We will continue our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. We have received a massive support across Maharashtra and we will continue our fight.” 

Shailesh Bankhele, a milk seller from Pimpri Chinchwad, said that he did not face any shortage of milk on Monday as he had good storage. “As all milk tankers were stopped from entering in the city on Sunday night, there will be a shortage on Tuesday,” he said.

Speaking about the issue, Baramati Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule said, “The crisis among the farmers has now reached an acute level. Farmers were promised loan waiver which has not been properly implemented. Now, they are not getting proper price for their milk. So we want to support their agitation. However, we do not want them to waste food or milk. We have so much poverty.” 

Former state agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said, “This agitation by milk producers has happened only because the government has paid no attention to their problems. We will support the farmers but we would like them not to throw away milk and they should distribute it for free.”

SCENE ACROSS THE STATE
- Several farmers distributed milk for free in schools in Sangli district.
- Milk tankers were stopped by farmers in Nipani leading to traffic chaos
- Police took action against protesting farmers in Ahmednagar.  Farmers of Javalwadi in Satara offered milk to Lord Shiva at different temples in the area.

REACTION ON MILK WASTAGE
- Shirish Dale, a resident of Katraj said that although, the demands of farmers are genuine they should choose different ways to protest rather than wasting milk in such a fashion.
— Shirish Dale,  Resident of Katraj

- Ankush Dubey, a resident of Sangvi said, “Following the news of blocking the milk supply, I had bought milk for two days but now I am worried if the protest stretches for long. Farmers should protest in peace.” 
— Ankush Dubey,  Resident of Sangvi

- Netizens criticise spilling of milk as a means of protest by farmers. A person named Vijay Barma, on Facebook shared, “What a way to protest in a country where mostly children die due to malnutrition! Deliver it free to needy to protest instead.”
— Vijay Barma, via Facebook post

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