Mumbai, June 20: The Maharashtra State Government on Monday increased the procurement price of milk by Rs 3 per litre. Dairy is a side-occupation for a large number of farmers in Maharashtra apart from agriculture. It is through dairy products that they earn their major chunk of livelihood. The long pending demands by farmers have been fulfilled as the government has now increased the per litre price for cow’s milk and buffalo milk. Cow milk has been increased by Rs 3 to Rs 27, which is Rs 24 at present and buffalo milk will now cost Rs 36 from the existing Rs 33. State Dairy Development Minister Mahadev Jankar made this announcement and informed that the hike in procurement rates will not affect retail prices. “The new rates will come into effect

Reports by TOI stated that the rates will come into effect from July 1. State Dairy Development Minister Mahadev Jankar made this announcement and informed that the hike in procurement rates will not affect retail prices. “The new rates will come into effect from June 21. But there will be no change in the milk rates for the retail customers,” Jankar said in a press conference. “The decision is aimed at benefiting the farmers, but its burden will not be passed on to retail customers in the state,” he was quoted by PTI.

He mentioned that the state government is thinking of enacting a law to regulate milk prices of private dairies. Jankar was quoted by TOI saying that currently, the government can only fix prices for its own brands like Mahanand, Gokul. “We are exploring a law to be able to fix a price for all the milk brands in the state. There has to be parity in milk prices,” Jankar added.

The recent hike will be the fourth since July 2016. In a tweet by Maharashtra DGIPR, it was reported that the procurement cost of the milk will be credited online into the bank account of the milk producer (farmers). They will no longer have to go to members of local dairies for their money. In his earlier meeting, Jankar had said that the state government ensure that the common man doesn’t get too burdened and urged people to look at the decision positively and cooperate on the same.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had chaired the meeting to decide the hike in prices along with various other ministers that included Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar, irrigation minister Girish Mahajan, cooperative minister Subhash Deshmukh, dairy minister Mahadev Jankar and transport minister Divakar Raote.

An official from the state Dairy Development Department informed that the state government receives funds up to Rs 25-30 crore from the Centre for various works in the field of dairy development. As of now private dairies including Gowardhan, Mahanand and Mother’s Dairy pay Rs 27 per lit re for cow milk and Rs 37 per litre for buffalo milk to farmers in the state. Meanwhile, Amul chairman R S Sodhi was quoted by TOI saying that the company is already paying Rs 28-30 for cow’s milk and Rs 45-46 for buffalo milk to farmers in Maharashtra.

Earlier this month, farmers from several districts in Maharashtra went on indefinite strike. Two tankers of milk were spilled on the road in Shirdi as a mark of protest.  Farmers demanded a loan waive off after being distressed over falling prices of agriculture produce and other related issues.