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Amul farmers caught in crossfire of power tussle news
15 June 2010

Ever since Verghese Kurien was forced to step down four years ago after 33 years at the helm, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the Amul brand, has never been quite the same. Now, a power tussle for the chairmanship is threatening the payment of farmers' bonuses.

The raging controversy over the chairmanship of the Rs8,000 crore federation has resulted in a delay in disbursal of bonus to milk 'pourers', who are paid the bonus after the federation clears its annual accounts in its board meeting. The federation has around 27 lakh milk pourers.

As per the three-tier structure at the co-operative, a farmer gets his or her annual bonus or dividend of the milk that is processed by the respective dairy unions and marketed by GCMMF. The bonus is paid around June after GCMMF board clears its annual accounts and 13 district dairy unions, which are members of the federation, conduct their annual general meetings (AGMs).

Each member union has its share in the total business done by the federation throughout the year. Now, bonus amounting to at least Rs465 crore will be delayed, thanks to this power struggle.

In the past couple of months, the federation has failed twice to convene a board meeting to clear its accounts due to non-quorum, as chairmen of some of the member unions have been demanding that Parthi Bhatol should step down from the post of chairman of GCMMF.

"In order to disburse the bonus to member unions, which in turn distribute it among the farmers, the federation needs to hold a board meeting to clear annual accounts. But this has not happened so far this year. As a result, the bonus distribution has delayed," said Ramsinh Parmar, chairman, Kheda District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd (KDCMPUL), popularly known as Amul Dairy.

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Amul farmers caught in crossfire of power tussle