The morning milk and biscuit scheme, which was seen as one of the best schemes introduced by the government , has now been stopped owing to shortage of milk experienced in the Union Territory.
“Regular supply will be resumed after the summer holidays, since there is less than a month left for regular school,” Secretary of Education, who is also Secretary for Cooperatives, G. Ragesh Chandra said.
The Union Territory has been relying on Tamil Nadu for supply of milk. But, with Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation and private players stopping supply to Puducherry during the lean season lasting from December to March, a decision was taken to supply milk to the general public. As a result, milk supply to the schools was stopped.
Of the total requirement of 1,10,000 litres of milk a day, Pondicherry Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union relies heavily on supply from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with around 90,000 litres coming from outside the Union Territory.
This season, there has also been no milk powder which could be used to reconstitute available amounts of milk. Even private dairies in Tamil Nadu do not have enough milk because of the lean season, Mr. Chandra said.
According to sources, the situation was not so bad last year as Tamil Nadu had sufficient milk. Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation supplies around 30,000 litres of milk and a further 10,000 litres are obtained from Karnataka. The rest is procured from private dairies in Tamil Nadu.
The private dairies are also facing a shortage of milk after cattle were affected by foot and mouth disease. Besides, the period from December to March is considered to be a lean season, with lesser milk production in the region.
With most people preferring to export milk powder, there is no supply during the lean season, he said.
Sources in Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation said that it used to sell 27,000 litres of milk a day to Puducherry in flush season, which would be three tankers of 9,000 litres each. But, this was reduced to 18,000 litres a day in December and then stopped .
“Kerala’s Milma helps us by buying excess milk in the flush season. It takes up to 2.5 lakh litres of milk a day and because of that, we continue to provide some milk to them despite our own difficulty. However, Puducherry does not reciprocate,” the official explained.
At present, Aavin is purchasing milk powder from federations in Gujarat and Bihar for reconstitution of milk. As far as milk powder supply to Puducherry is concerned, during flush season, Aavin has sold powder to Ponlait, he added.