ANDHRA PRADESH

Dairy farmers lash out at political parties

Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: The Chittoor district unit of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Farmers Associations, which is spearheading an agitation in the district for the last fortnight resenting the exploitation of milch farmers by private dairy cartels, on Saturday lashed out at both the ruling and the opposition parties for their `total apathy' towards their agitation.

The cattle farmers along with their cows, bulls, buffalos have recently hit the roads and held demonstrations before all the mandal offices in the district seeking Government intervention to break the cartels and to ensure a remunerative price for their milk supplied to the private dairies.

The Association President, A. Chengal Reddy, and the district convener, T. Audikesavula Reddy, regretted that though the maintenance cost of the milch animals had gone up by 300 per cent to 400 per cent during the last one decade, the procurement price of the milk either remained almost static or increased only by a miniscule percentage, badly affecting the cattle farmers.

They said that it was rather ironical that while a bottle of mineral water was being sold at Rs.12 per litre, a litre of milk with all its production cost, labour component, man-hours etc was fetching the farmers in the State, especially in the Chittoor district, barely Rs. 6.50 to Rs. 7.50.

They also pointed out that the neighbouring Tamil Nadu was paying its cattle farmers Rs. 9.75 per litre and charged that the private dairy operators were minting money procuring milk for paltry prices from the local farmers and selling the same at exorbitant rates in the neighbouring metropolis of Chennai and Bangalore.

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