Former Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran has criticised the government move to hike the price of milk sold by the Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (MILMA).

In a statement here on Wednesday, Mr. Divakaran urged the government to review its decision since the Kerala High Court was yet to give its verdict on the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government's decision to stay MILMA's decision to hike the price of milk by Rs.5 a litre.

Minister for Dairy Development K.C. Joseph's statement in this regard was most unfortunate and contrary to the affidavit filed by the government before the High Court, he said.

The attitude of MILMA on the subject was that of a trading agency. If the government approved its proposal to hike milk prices by Rs.5 a litre, it would only benefit the agencies that imported around 5 lakh litres of milk every day from other States. This was what the last government had tried to prevent. Following this, MILMA had gone to the High Court questioning the government's authority to intervene in the matter. It had done so without realising that under Section 176 of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act, the government had all the power to nullify any decision taken by a cooperative society.

Mr. Divakaran termed politically motivated the Minister's statement that milk price would have to be increased and pointed out that the last government had raised milk price by Rs.8 in five instalments and sanctioned benefits under various schemes costing Rs.400 crore to dairy farmers. The government had also earmarked Rs.150 crore in the 2011-12 budget for animal husbandry and dairy development. Kerala was the only State which gave pension and cattle feed subsidy to dairy farmers, he said.