Many Delhiites still recall with nostalgia those days when they would make a dash for the Delhi Milk Scheme booth early in the morning to fetch their supply of milk. The milk then came in wide-mouthed glass bottles with twin-coloured aluminium covers that could be easily peeled off.

The booths are still there but the way milk is sold has changed. The bottles have been replaced with poly-packs and the booths, that used to remain stocked with milk and other products during their working hours, have now become general grocery shops selling everything -- from cola and chips to biscuits and burgers; but often not milk.

Wherever you go, be it Rajendra Prasad Road near Mati Ghar, or Mandi House, the reply is standard: “There is no milk or milk product. The supply will come in a few hours.”

But all that is set to change if the DMS management is to be believed. “We are looking at increasing our daily distribution. The capacity can go up from around 3 lakh litres to 5 lakh litres per day,” said DGM Technical Ashok Bansal.

When it was launched, DMS had 21 collection centres spread across the National Capital Region of which three were in Delhi at Alipur, Bawana and Najafgarh. It used to make powder milk and ice-cream too. But these were later discontinued and now DMS sells only milk, curd, cottage cheese (paneer), buttermilk (chhachh), butter and flavoured milk.

“We sell three types of milk and our rates are less than Amul’s but at par with Mother Dairy. Few know that we are the sole suppliers of milk and milk products to Parliament House and Annexe, AIIMS and other hospitals like Safdarjang, Kalawati Saran and GTB. We also supply milk directly to Delhi Police canteens, and all central government offices like Krishi Bhawan and Udyog Bhawan.”

Mr. Bansal added that the organisation has even through times of turbulence never relented on the quality of its products. “Our motto of ‘Piyo pure, jiyo more’ says a lot about how we have tried to maintain quality.”

Now, he said, the DMS has 580 booths across Delhi and has plans to open more in the hitherto untouched parts of Delhi such as Dwarka and Rohini, and even neighbouring satellite townships like Noida. “We have outsourced supply vehicles on 75 distinct routes. All these vehicles have been given a distinct tricolour design,” he said.

Through a slew of measures, DMS is once again hoping to grab a larger share of Delhi’s milk market. While the company at present sells between 5,000 and 10,000 litres of milk by-products per day and about 3 lakh litres of milk, this too can be ramped up.

But this may not be as easy as it sounds. The revival plan apart, DMS is sitting on very valuable land and disinvestment of the assets appears high on the agenda of the powers that be.

The workers, however, insist good management practices should be continued and efforts be made to restore DMS to its past glory.

More In: Delhi