Bangalore: 'Govt gets ultimatum to hike milk price'

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Bengaluru, Nov 5: The president of the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) and former Minister H D Revanna has warned the Government of 'erious consequences' if it does not grant the request of KMF to increase the retail price of certain varieties of milk by Rs. 2, with immediate effect.

The KMF has been seeking an increase in milk prices over the past five months. The B S Yeddyurappa Government had turned down the demand and had categorically stated that there was no necessity to hike milk prices at this juncture. The Government had also provided for a cash incentive of Rs. 2 a litre of milk to producers, which was being paid through milk cooperatives.

Mr. Revanna on Tuesday indicated that the KMF was gearing-up for a showdown with the Government by serving it a 10-day ultimatum seeking an increase in prices failing which the KMF would organise a rally of milk producers in Bangalore to decide on the next course of action. As such, the 13 milk unions have called upon the KMF to decide on what is to be done next. “Let the milk producers decide on what the KMF should do. Of the hike of Rs. 2 a litre sought, Rs. 1.50 will be given to the producers and Re 0.50 to the milk unions concerned," Mr. Revanna said.

The KMF president said: “I am not for confrontation with the Government, but am only concerned about the dairy farmers in the State. There are 19 lakh such farmers and the Government must convince them on why milk prices should not be raised. Prices of fodder have gone up substantially in the recent past and farmers are in a crisis, given the fact that even agriculture is suffering."

Reacting to the statement of Cooperative Minister Lakshman Savadi, Mr. Revanna said, "The milk which is consumed by the common man has not been subject to price increase (according to the proposal of the KMF) and the rate still remains at Rs. 14 a litre. It is the price of milk which is consumed by the elite that is sought to be raised by Rs. 2. So where is the question of burdening the common man?" He said it was for the State Government to address the problems faced by the dairy farmers and the milk unions. “In my view, the Government has not understood why the KMF has sought an increase in milk prices. It is without any profit motive but to save the cooperative spirit in production of milk and marketing."

Giving details on the losses that the milk unions were incurring, Mr. Revanna said the unions in Kolar, Mandya, Belgaum, Hassan and Gulbarga had incurred losses in excess of Rs. 4.9 crore till the end of September.

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