A total of 1,200 members of women self-help groups in the district have received subsidies to the tune of Rs. 2,000 each for purchase of milch cows under the STEP (Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women) scheme.

A subsidy to the extent of Rs. 24 lakh has been forwarded so far to 1,200 members out of Rs. 28 lakh earmarked for the purpose to cover 1,400 SHG members belonging to 20 women milk producers’ cooperative societies. Under the scheme - supported to the tune of 90 per cent by the Centre’s Department of Women and Child Development and the rest by the Tiruchi District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union - a sum of Rs. 88.5 lakh has been allotted for the jurisdictional area of the Union.

For the systematic progress of these societies, Rs. 15.84 lakh out of the allocation was under utilisation for the provision of equipment including stainless steel containers and milk testing devices free of cost. Rs. 13.12 lakh was being spent for training and motivating the members and employees of the cooperative societies.

The training programmes focus on cattle maintenance, general awareness, legal awareness, and basic computer operations. The STEP scheme also provides for taking the members on study tours to other States, and conduct of State-level seminars and workshops.At one such motivational workshop organised by the Tiruchi District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union on Thursday, the District Collector T. Soundiah said the training programmes were significant against the backdrop of cattle becoming susceptible to new kinds of ailments. The training will help the members to understand the ailments and the nature of medication required.

Presiding over the event, the Collector assured that such programmes will be conducted on a periodic basis to equip the cooperative societies to function profitably through government assistance. There were veterinary hospitals in adequate numbers and medical camps were being conducted, he said.

R. Brinda, Joint Registrar/Special Officer, Tiruchi District Central Cooperative Bank provided details of the loan schemes, and the Assistant Project Officer of Mahalir Thittam Amutha spoke on SHG Development. P.J. Ganesan and N. Punniyamoorthy, Professors of TANUVAS Training and Research Centres at Tiruchi and Thanjavur exposed participants to nuances of ‘livestock rearing and feed production’ and ‘first aid and herbal treatment’ respectively.

While the Deputy Registrar of Dairy Development, Tiruchi, S. Baskaran dwelt on administration aspects, the Deputy Registrar of Dairy Development, Perambalur, S. Ramalingam, spoke on ‘accounting and auditing procedures’.

The General Manager of Aavin, Tiruchi, V. Vizhinathan, welcomed the gathering. Assistant General Manager In-Charge Mr. R. Chandrasekaran proposed a vote of thanks.