In what is likely to come as a relief to district milk unions and dairy farmers who have not been paid their dues in the last few months, the Karnataka Milk Federation on Friday promised to pay the outstanding dues in 10 days.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, KMF Managing Director Harsh Gupta said that pending bills worth Rs. 165 crore will be cleared within 10 days by taking a loan of Rs. 120 crore. “The money will be paid to milk unions in all districts except Kolar and Mysore,” he said. In these two districts, he said, the district unions had taken loans of Rs. 45 crore to pay the farmers. He said that the KMF will go national soon by setting up marketing units in Delhi, Guwahati, Nagpur and Jodhpur. Most State capitals will soon have KMF outlets, he said. One of the biggest crises to hit the cooperative in recent times has been the accumulation of skimmed milk powder.

Mr. Gupta explained that this crisis was caused by the (Union government’s) decision to ban the export of skimmed milk powder, while at the same time ordering import of the product.

He said that several steps have been taken to dispose of skimmed milk powder stocks, including seeking buyers from other States. “We have booked orders for 1,500 tonnes from Kolkata Mother Dairy by participating in a tender,” he said and added that new buyers such as ice cream manufacturers are being identified. “Over 3,500 tonnes of powder have been sold to countries facing milk shortage. The State government has also lent a helping hand by absorbing losses up to 50 per cent of the cost of procurement,” he noted.

He said that to increase the sale of milk a scheme has been mooted to pay agents Rs. 2 per litre as incentive for targeted sale in Bangalore and Re. 1 per litre for other centres. Permission has been granted to district unions in Belgaum, Kolar and Tumkur to sell milk to neighbouring States, he said.

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