Milk producers’ unions in the district have expressed their concern and disappointment over the lackadaisical attitude of some of the officials at the Aavin here.
To show their protest, some of the milk producers destroyed the milk on the by-pass road. “At least 5,000 litres of milk were poured on the road that motorists were shocked to see,” a policeman at the intersection said. This is the second day, the milk producers indulged in the demonstration, he added.
Members at the union here told The Hindu that after the TN government announced certain relaxation in the COVID-19 lockdown, they started supplying milk to the Aavin without any difficulty.
Every day, the Aavin, procured around 1 lakh litres. On some days, the levels crossed the one lakh mark. With COVID-19 pandemic, many milk producers suffered multiple losses. Under such circumstances, the refusal to procure milk from the registered unions had caused pain, the members said and added that hence, to draw the attention of the officials and the public, the milk was destroyed.
The members also said that the Aavin had reduced the price of procurement from ₹31 to ₹27 per litre citing COVID-19 pandemic and claimed that the milk quality was not up to the mark. The milk producers maintained that it was yet another move to discourage them. They also alleged that the Aavin management here gave false reason that the milk was unfit for consumption so that it could return it.
They said that the agitation would be intensified from next week.
However, when contacted, an official in the Aavin, requesting anonymity, said that they had a capacity to procure up to 1.20 lakh litres daily from the milk producers. Two days ago, there was some fault in the chilling plant and the milk producers were fully aware of the issue. Under such circumstances, the Aavin had procured 1.32 lakh litres. Hence, they returned the excess milk of about 7,000 litres. The milk producers were also informed that the Aavin would compensate for the loss and there was no need for apprehension.
The official said that apart from procurement for them, they also supplied 90,000 litres of milk to Madurai Aavin and another 45,000 litres of milk to Kancheepuram and Thiruvannamalai districts as well. It took three days for the tankers to return. Any delay in this routine might complicate the cycle as the chilling facility had to be enhanced at the plant here, he clarified.
The official said that the consumers in the district had commended the Aavin management for its excellent coordination and network in delivering the milk packets during the COVID-19 curfew.
A functionary of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) alleged that a prominent politician in the district and his family members who had a role in the functioning of the Aavin here, were aware of the issues, but not keen to solve them. “They were more interested in encouraging private players in the milk industry,” he claimed.