Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday urged Union minister Amit Shah to ask Gujarat-based dairy Amul to stop procuring milk in the southern state immediately.

Stalin said that the move by Amul is unfortunate and will be harmful to the interests of the Tamil Nadu-owned dairy cooperative, which sells dairy products under the brand name Aavin.

In his letter to Shah, who heads the Ministry of Cooperation, Stalin said that it has come to the state government’s notice that Amul has utilised its multi-state cooperative license to install chilling centres and a processing plant in Krishnagiri district.

He also said that Amul is planning to procure milk through Farmer Producer Organisations and Self Help Groups in and around Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupathur, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu.

“It has been a norm in India to let cooperatives thrive without infringing on each other’s milk-shed area,” Stalin told the home minister. “Such cross-procurement goes against the spirit of ‘Operation White Flood’ and will exacerbate problems for the consumers given the prevailing milk shortage scenario in the country.”

Stalin’s letter comes a month after a controversy had erupted after Amul had announced that it will sell its products in Karnataka. The Congress, which was then in Opposition, had sought to portray the entry of Amul into the state’s dairy product market as a threat to the local brand Nandini and the livelihood of the state’s farmers.

Leaders of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) had invoked regional sentiments by projecting the then-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, whose top national leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah hail from Gujarat, as facilitating Gujarati interests at Karnataka’s expense.

In Monday’s letter, Stalin said that the decision by Amul infringes on Aavin’s milk shed area which has been nurtured over decades.

He added that it will create unhealthy competition between cooperatives engaged in procuring and marketing milk and milk products.

“Regional cooperatives have been the bedrock of dairy development in the states and they are better placed to engage and nurture producers and to cushion consumers from arbitrary price hikes,” Stalin said. “Therefore, I request your urgent intervention to direct Amul to desist from milk procurement from the milk shed area of Aavin in Tamil Nadu with immediate effect.”