Dairy farmers in Maharashtra called off their four-day strike on Thursday after the state government announced it will raise the procurement rate to Rs 25 per litre of milk from Saturday. The market rate was Rs 17-19 per litre and the additional Rs 5 per litre will be given by the state to dairies as a subsidy, reported The Times of India.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti, who led the protest, said he was happy with the government’s decision. “The government is trying to implement a scheme which promises farmers better rates, we welcome that and take back our protest,” Shetti said. He, however, said the Sanghatana will be monitoring if the the farmers actually get the rate as announced.
Dairy Development Minister Mahadev Jankar said the subsidy will not be given to milk sold in pouches. The minister clarified that milk powder producers, who avail the subsidy, will not be entitled to the incentive subsidy for export. On July 10, the government had announced incentive subsidies of Rs 50 per kg for milk powder and Rs 5 per litre of milk for exports.
The state government announced the decision after deliberations with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, leaders of the Opposition and representatives of the co-operative and private bodies of milk suppliers and processors, reported PTI.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the government would withdraw cases filed against farmers during the agitation. The chief minister, however, specified that the relief would not apply to protestors who are not farmers and those who have been charged with indulging in violence during the stir.
The strike had affected the procurement of milk by dairies in the state’s big cities, including capital Mumbai, the Hindustan Times reported. On Monday, protestors stopped and emptied milk tankers on roads in several districts of Maharashtra, and damaged at least five milk vans in Pune.