Over 1,700 milk producers were arrested when they staged demonstrations in different parts of the district on Friday demanding increase in milk procurement prices. More than 1,500 farmers gathered in front of the Erode District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union (Aavin) at Chithode near here in the morning and staged dharna urging the government to increase procurement price of cow's milk by Rs.5 and buffalo's milk by Rs. 8.

They raised slogans condemning the State government for not taking any initiatives to increase the prices. They claimed that the cost of production had gone up several folds due to sharp rise in prices of fodder.

Similar protests were held at Panchalingapuram near Modakurichi, Karumandichellipalayam and a few other places.

More than 100 milk producers blocked traffic for more than an hour at Karumandichellipalayam urging the government to fulfil their demands. Police personnel rushed to the spot and tried to pacify them. As they refused to withdraw the protest, they were arrested. At Perundurai, the producers distributed over 100 litres of milk to people free of cost. The supply of milk to Aavin remained affected for the fifth consecutive day on Friday.

Aavin officials made arrangements to procure milk at chilling centres in 12 places in the district and deputed officials from other departments to carry out the procurement as a majority of the employees of primary milk producers co-operative societies did not turn up for work.