While city residents are fretting and fuming over the over 12-hour load shedding, consumers of Aavin milk in some parts of the city have been facing problems in preserving milk supplied to them over the past few days.
Sporadic complaints of Aavin milk supplied in sachets getting spoilt have been reported from some parts of the city over the past 10 days. While a section of the agents in the city allege that Tiruchi District Cooperative Milk Producers Union (Aavin) has advanced the supply of the milk, reportedly due to a shortage of ‘troughs’ (containers), Aavin officials deny this and maintain that they have attended to the problem wherever complaints were received.
“We have been facing the problem quite often over the past 10 days. At times, the milk also carries a foul odour. Given the load shedding for over 12 hours a day, we can not refrigerate the milk for long,” says Malathi, a resident of Srirangam.
According to some of the agents, the milk which was previously supplied to them in the early hours of the day around 4.30 a.m. is now being sent some times as early as 11.30 the previous night. This, an agent claimed, was being done as the milk vans have to make multiple trips due to the shortage of ‘troughs.’
The agents claim that they do not have refrigerators to preserve the milk and this results in complaints of the milk getting spoilt when they are supplied to the consumers the next morning. But a senior Aavin official said the agents were supposed to have facilities for refrigerating the milk before supplying it to the consumers.
Even if the agents were to have refrigerators it would be difficult to preserve the milk for the intervening period given the heavy load shedding now, some of the agents say.
The official also maintained that only milk supplied to places such as Thanjavur, Pudukottai and other neighbouring towns were being sent early. “We start the distribution by 9 p.m. to these places and supply to most parts of the city begins only by 11.30 a.m. so as to ensure that they reach the destination before 4 a.m. We ensure the quality of milk is good at the time of delivery. Despite the power cuts we use generators to keep our plants running. It is the responsibility of the agents to preserve them properly before delivering it to the consumers,” he said. The officer also made light of the shortage of the “troughs” saying that there may be a slight shortage in a few supply routes. Aavin officials also accuse the agents of attempting to create problems by delaying supply to the consumers to bring on pressure on the union to hike the commission paid to them. ‘We are already studying the issue and a decision will be taken soon,” an officer said. Besides, the agents are aggrieved over the recent action taken against some for selling products other than Aavin milk, the officials said.
Aavin procures about 3.40 lakh litres of milk a day from its member societies. Of this nearly 1.25 lakh litres is sold locally and 1.80 lakh litres is sent to Chennai every day.