Nagpur, Jul 19: An end to the four-day agitation by dairy farmers appeared in sight today, with the Maharashtra government announcing that it had accepted a key demand of the protesters.
The government has decided to give Rs 25 per litre for milk to dairy farmers with effect from July 21, Dairy Development Minister Mahadev Jankar said in the Legislative Assembly this evening.
The farmers had been holding protests in parts of the state since Monday, seeking a hike of Rs 5 per litre in the procurement prices. The impact of the protest was felt particularly in Mumbai and Pune where milk supplies were partially affected. Though the protest has not created an acute shortage of milk yet, the agitation has intensified with families of dairy farmers also pitching in.
"I'm ready to withdraw the agitation if the milk-purchase rate is fixed around Rs 25 per litre," Raju Shetti, Swabhimani Paksha MP, who is spearheading the stir, had said.
The minister made the announcement after a meeting convened by Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, leaders and representatives of milk suppliers federation were present at the meeting.
The major milk-producing districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Ahmednagar and Nashik supply bulk of the stock to Mumbai and Pune. Some units in Thane and Palghar also supply milk to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Yesterday, Shetti had vowed to stop trains carrying milk to the state from Gujarat. A Western Railway official earlier said milk tankers would be attached to the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central passenger train to mitigate problems faced by consumers.