TAMIL NADU

Milk cooperatives to be revived

HYDERABAD, JULY 24. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) today signed an MoU with the State Government to revive the closed apex milk cooperatives in Chittoor, Cuddapah and East Godavari districts and revitalise the existing ones in 10 districts of Telangana and Rayalaseema where dairying is nil or weak — Anantapur, Kurnool, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Nalgonda, Medak, Mahabubnagar, Khammam, Warangal and Medak.

It will also take steps for strengthening the cooperatives in coastal districts of Guntur, Krishna, Visakhapatnam, Nellore and Prakasam.

Infrastructure-building

The board would create infrastructure facilities for marketing horticulture items such as fruits and vegetables, take up re-vegetation of degraded lands in Papagni watershed in Anantapur-Chittoor districts extending up to Kolar in Karnataka, to begin with, and expand the activity by its subsidiary here, Indian Immunologicals, for making human and animal vaccines.

The NDDB will provide Rs. 315 crores at 5.5 per cent interest for the first three activities, to be spent by the State in the next three years and repayable in 15 years, and spend Rs. 75 crores in the next two years on the increased vaccine-making operation in Immunologicals.

MP's efforts lauded

The MOU was signed in the presence of the Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the NDDB chairman, Amrita Patel, and Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Sabha member. Dr. Reddy later told reporters that the NDDB programme came here because of the efforts made by Mr. Jairam Ramesh.

The Chief Minister said Rs. 200 crores out of the sum would go for dairy sector, Rs. 100 crores for horticulture marketing facilities, and Rs. 15 crores for re-vegetation.

The district-level milk cooperatives being set up in Chittoor, Cuddapah and East Godavari would be new because the old ones were defunct with the employees going on VRS.

Under the programme, auction floors with cold storage facilities would be provided to market fruits and vegetables.

A team of officials would prepare a report for these projects in three months after touring the targeted areas.

Village institutions

to be set up

Ms. Amritha Patel explained that their thrust would be on building up milk producers institutions to carry the milk revolution forward.

The Foundation for Ecological Security, an affiliate of NDDB, would set up village institutions to manage wastelands in the Papagni area spread over 12,000 ha.

The watershed would be expanded to 1,200 other villages with lease period extended to 50 years.

Answering questions, the Chief Minister said the cooperatives were being encouraged to help the poor and farmers "rectifying the mistakes made in the past 10 years" but it didn't mean that the Government was against private dairies.

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