CPI(M) demands immediate rollback of milk price hike

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On the warpath: Activists of CPI(M) demonstrating before OMFED plant in Bhubaneswar on Monday against hike in price of milk. —
On the warpath: Activists of CPI(M) demonstrating before OMFED plant in Bhubaneswar on Monday against hike in price of milk. —

Staff Reporter

It urges the government to bear the additional burden

CPI(M) stages demonstration at OMFED plant

Party leaders submit memorandum to the MD

BHUBANESWAR: Hike in prices of milk and its associate products by Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited (OMFED) continued to invite angry reactions from different quarters.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Monday staged demonstration in front of OMFED’s processing plant at Chandrasekharpur here. Activists of CPI (M) demanded immediate withdrawal of decision to rise milk price by Rs. 4 per litre.

“OMFED authorities need to adopt a balanced policy by giving Rs. 16 per litre to milk farmers and at the same time keeping the milk price at Rs. 20 per litre,” said Mantu Nayak, member of Bhubaneswar District Committee of CPI (M).

If authorities pointed out damages incurred during recent floods as the reason behind raising milk price, the State government should step in with a subsidy plan, Mr. Nayak suggested.

He said as per the calculation the State exchequer would have to bear only Rs. 58 crore additional burden if subsidy of Rs. 4 per litre was granted.

A delegation under the leadership of Suresh Panigrahi, secretary of Bhubaneswar District Organising Committee, submitted a memorandum addressing to managing director of OMFED. Mr. Panigrahi said the federation should cut cost towards unnecessary foreign trips and other undesirable expenses.

Ever since OMFED had increased the price by Rs. 4 per litre from October 16, individuals and organisations have criticised the move saying the stiff price rise could have been avoided.

CUTTACK: Notwithstanding the state-wide protests against OMFED’s increase in milk price, the Utkal Yadav Mahasabha, a state-level confederation of milk producers, has not only welcomed the federation’s move but has demanded a further raise of the milk price.

At a convention held here on Monday, attended by over 500 cattle farmers, the confederation passed a resolution stating that the recent increase of milk price by Rs 4 per litre was not enough. “Instead, the milk price should be further increased by another Rs 2 per litre,” demanded Subash Behera, the working president of the Mahasabha. The cattle growers pointed out that milkmen in coastal district were now the worst sufferers after the devastating flood which ravaged their backbone. Many cattle have either washed away or have perished in flood while the prices of cattle feed have increased manifold to sustain the stock. The staple fodder like straw and grass have suddenly vanished from the rich of the cattle as vast stretches of open fields were inundated by floodwaters, rue the farmers.

“Unable to withstand the loss and sufferings, the milk producers of these districts have now either stopped their business or are selling their cattle stock to neighbouring states at throwaway prices,” Mr. Behera said.

Mr. Behera, however, sparing a thought for the milk consumers of the State suggests that if a further hike of milk price would hit the common man hard, then the state government should come forward to bail out the milk producers by subsidizing the cattle feed.

“The government could take other alternatives such as waiving out cattle loans, provide better breed of cows at cheaper prices, provide free medical aid and free insurance to cattle population”, the participants of the convention demanded.

He further said a delegation of the confederation would soon meet the OMFED authorities and the Chief Minister to apprise about their woes and place their demands.

Over 2.5 lakh farmers are now supplying about 1.5 lakh litres of milk to Omfed which in turn after being processed are marketed through over 4,000 retail counters of the Federation, said Pradeep Behera, local secretary of the confederation. He said a farmer was earlier getting Rs 11.80 paise per litre from the federation which would now be increased Rs 15.80 after the recent price hike.



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