Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to direct Gujarat-based dairy giant Amul to desist from milk procurement in the southern state with immediate effect.
Writing to Shah, Stalin drew the Centre's attention to the issues arising out of milk procurement by the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union (Amul) in the Tamil Nadu milk shed area.
Recently, it has come to the state government's notice that Amul has utilised its multi-state cooperative license to install chilling centres and a processing plant in Krishnagiri district, Stalin said.
Also, Amul has planned to procure milk through FPOs and SHGs in and around Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupathur, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu.
"It has been a norm in India to let cooperatives thrive without infringing on each other's milk-shed area. Such cross-procurement goes against the spirit of 'Operation White Flood' and will exacerbate problems for the consumers given the prevailing milk shortage scenario in the country. This act of AMUL infringes on Aavin's (TN Co-operative Milk Producers Federation) milk shed area which has been nurtured in true cooperative spirit over decades."
This move by AMUL will create unhealthy competition between cooperatives engaged in procuring and marketing milk and milk products.
"Regional cooperatives have been the bedrock of dairy development in the states and they are better placed to engage and nurture producers and to cushion consumers from arbitrary price hikes.
Therefore, I request your urgent intervention to direct Amul to desist from milk procurement from the milk shed area of Aavin in Tamil Nadu with immediate effect," the Chief Minister said.
Providing a backgrounder to the matter, Stalin said till now, Amul was only selling their products in Tamil Nadu through their outlets.
In Tamil Nadu, like in other states with strong dairy cooperatives, a three-tier dairy cooperative system is functioning effectively since 1981 for the benefit of the rural milk producers and consumers, Stalin said.
"Aavin is our apex cooperative marketing federation. Under the ambit of Aavin co-operative, 9,673 Milk Producers Co-operative Societies are functioning in rural areas. They procure 35 LLPD of milk from about 4.5 lakh pouring members. Under this current arrangement, milk producers are assured of remunerative and uniform prices throughout the year by the cooperative societies."
In order to increase and sustain milk production in Tamil Nadu, Aavin also provides various inputs such as cattle feed, fodder, mineral mixture, animal health care and breeding services for animals of milk producers.
In addition, it ensures the supply of quality milk and milk products to consumers at one of the lowest prices in our country. Thus, Aavin plays a vital role in improving the livelihood of rural milk producers and the meeting the nutritional requirement of consumers, he said.