Complaint was filed by KMF Director P. Nagaraj, farmers

Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) chairman G. Somashekar Reddy is once again in the news for an alleged Rs. 40-crore scam in the procurement of cattle feed.

Admitting the complaint filed by KMF Director P. Nagaraj, along with two farmers, the Lokayukta court in Bangalore on Saturday ordered the Lokayukta police to investigate the matter and submit a report.

Welcoming the court direction, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha ( KRRS) and Hasiru Sene former general secretary C. Puttaswamy said the KMF was to have procured cattle feed through tender process for the period February to May this year.

However, federation officials deliberately postponed the procurement process till July, and had to pay an escalated price of Rs. 14,650 per tonne against the usual price of Rs. 12,800 per tonne, from a company based in Andhra Pradesh.

This has added a Rs. 40-crore burden on the federation, which is passing it on to milk producers by increasing cattle feed price by 20 per cent, Mr. Puttaswamy alleged. The KMF had earlier proposed to increase the price by 40 per cent, which was scaled down after a protest, he said.

Mr. Puttaswamy charged that Mr. Reddy was feigning ignorance on the issue when he was responsible for scrapping the purchase committee before going for the purchase of the cattle feed.

According to the rules, the KMF is supposed to increase the purchase price of milk with the increase of cattle feed price, but this had not been done. Farmers suspect a scam behind this decision and are demanding a CBI probe into the Andhra Pradesh company providing the cattle feed, Mr. Puttaswamy said.

Protest in front of KMF

In the meantime, thousands of milk producers staged a protest in front of the KMF here on Saturday demanding State intervention to resolve the issue.

The protesters demanded that the government should hike the milk price to Rs. 26 per litre and also demanded a strong marketing strategy for milk byproducts.

They have also demanded the introduction of 100 ml milk supplement programme for primary schoolchildren to eradicate malnutrition. This would help improve the economic condition of milk producers, they said.

The protesters also demanded the services of a nutritional expert to monitor cattle-feed production. They threatened to intensify their protest if their demands are not met within 20 days.

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