Railways bring milk to Mumbai as supplies fall 47% on Day 3 of farmers' stir
19 July 2018
The Railways has extended a helping hand transporting milk from Gujarat to Mumbai as the protests by dairy farmers entered the third day today and threatened to affect the milk supply to other major cities in Maharashtra as well.
Three containers of milk reached Mumbai from Gujarat today, an official said.
"The Western Railways has made special arrangements for supply of milk into Mumbai, as per the directives of railways minister Piyush Goyal. The decision is taken to counter the short supply due to the ongoing agitation called by farmers' organisation," the WR said in an official communication.
The Ahmedabad-Mumbai passenger will bring two tankers of milk to Mumbai every day in each trip. Each tanker has a capacity of 44,000 litres.
With the protest by dairy farmers intensifying on the third day of the strike, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region received 33 lakh litres of milk on Wednesday which is 47 per cent less than the average supply of about 70 lakh litres, according to dairy development department officials.
In the rest of the state, too, milk shortage was observed as only 49 lakh litres of the commodity was distributed out of the 50 lakh litres procured.
The protesters tried to stop train wagons bringing milk to Mumbai from neighbouring Gujarat at Dahanu station.
Gokul Dairy, one of the major suppliers of milk to Mumbai, distributed only half the usual quantity. “The farmers’ support for the protest is growing, and hence overall procurement is down by 50 per cent. We are trying to distribute the milk in Mumbai as well as other areas. On Wednesday, only 3.5 lakh litre milk was distributed in Mumbai against the regular supply of 8 lakh litres,’’ said Arun Narke, director of Gokul.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Lok Sabha member Raju Shetti, who is leading the protest, on Wednesday tried to stop milk wagons coming from Gujarat at Dahanu in Palghar district. “The state government seems in no mood to listen to the woes of milk-producing farmers. We will organise road blocks on major roads in the state on Thursday. There will be cattle on roads,’’ Shetti said. The dairy farmers are demanding an increase of Rs 5 per litre in procurement prices.
Meanwhile, a Western Railway official said milk supply through trains to Mumbai has been rescheduled.
In anticipation of shortage of milk due to the ongoing agitation, the consumers in Mumbai have been buying more milk than their requirements since Monday. Anjali Mantri, a consumer from Ghatkopar, said that she bought a few more packets of milk than usual as fears the strike might affect the supply in the coming days. “We require two litres of milk every day. But we have stored four litres,” she said.
A police vehicles accompany milk tankers on their way to Mumbai on a regular basis as the farmers’ stir intensified
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced in the assembly that cases filed against dairy farmers during the ongoing protest would be withdrawn.
Fadnavis, however, made it clear that cases filed against those who are not farmers, but were charged for indulging in violence during the stir, would not be withdrawn.
Fadnavis said the government is not opposed to “a peaceful protest”. “But some people torched tankers. Farmers would never engage in such acts.”