“If tanker lorries go on strike there will be severe scarcity of milk in the State and more so in Chennai. More than 30 lakh litres of milk will be unused throughout the State and more than 12 lakh litres of milk in the city,” said SA Ponnusamy, president of the milk employees welfare association.
Owing to various issues such as not finalising the contract for carrying milk and not settling the pending due of more than Rs 20 crore to tankers, the Aavin tanker lorry owners’ association decided to go on strike from Wednesday if their issues are not resolved.
But, the State government has not taken any concrete steps towards it yet. Ponnusamy demanded the government to hold talks immediately and to stop the strike as milk scarcity would cause several problems to children and aged people.
Tamil Nadu Muslim League (TNML) Founding President VMS Mustafa also demanded the state government to hold talks with the Aavin milk tanker owners.
Meanwhile, trouble erupted in a milk producers’ association at Athanur near Arani in Tiruvannamalai district on Tuesday following agitated farmers pouring milk on the road to condemn the attitude of the association after it refused to accept milk from regular members, sources revealed.
This was just a few days after Tamil Nadu cooperative milk farmers’ federation (Aavin) MD C Kamaraj announced that the newly-formed Tiruvannamalai district cooperative milk producers union would concentrate on marketing for a year.
The Athanur milk farmers’ society procures nearly 3200 litres of milk daily and forwards it to the Tiruvannamalai chilling centre at Vengikkal from where it is moved to either Vellore on Chennai based on need.
Villagers said that over the last month, the association has been refusing to accept their milk based on ‘oral orders’ from top department bosses.
When farmers protested, the association said it would take milk from only those who arrived early with their supply. “This resulted in pushing and shoving among farmers in a bid to get their milk accepted,” said a source.
The move, however, affected surrounding villages including Virupathchipuram and Kizhaiyur as farmers had to travel with their milk load while Athanur locals had only to walk a few streets to hand in their supply. It led to arguments between the affected farmers and the local milk society officials.
Infuriated by lack of response from Aavin officials, nearly 100 farmers whose milk was not accepted, poured their milk on the ground in front of the society.
Vellore Aavin GM PM Ganesa deputed a five-member team including an assistant manager (Dairy), cooperative sub-registrar from the Deputy Registrar (Dairy) office and a senior inspector to resolve the issue.