Agra, March 23 (IANS) Strike by milk vendors, retailers and "cycle-tanki-wallahs" continued for the fourth day Friday in the Taj city, with no hope of an early resolution of the problem.
Branded milk pouches by Amul, Mother Dairy, Reliance and other local dairies were in great demand after retailers from rural areas suspended milk supply to the city a few days ago, to protest cut down in rates of milk by the dairies.
The "doodhiyas", as the milk vendors are called, prevented supply from rural areas. One milk tanker was emptied on the road Wednesday. The efforts by the district authorities to negotiate a settlement of the dispute between the suppliers and the dairies proved futile Thursday. Sudhir Tomar of the struggle committee said the strike would continue.
The retail vendors said they were buying milk from cattle owners in the villages for Rs. 22 to 24. The dairies had reduced rates to Rs.18-20 per litre. The striking vendors want the administration to persuade the dairies to hike the prices to safeguard their interests.
A local dairy owner said the bigger dairies were responsible for the crisis. It is reliably learnt that the milk powder they had exported had failed to meet the international standards and the supplies had been stopped.
This had forced the dairies to market all their milk produce in the local market. Major dairies in India have stepped up their production and cut down their rates, the striking vendors said.
But the rate of milk by the cattle owners in the city and in the villages had not come down.
Ravi Singh, a progressive farmer of the Barauli Ahir block said: "All the inputs costs have gone up, the buffalo itself costs Rs.50,000 plus. How can milk prices go down, its not clear."
For the consumers its a good news that rates have come down, "To hell with these vendors," said an angry milk buyer Sudhier Gupta of Vijay Nagar Colony.
"Most of these guys anyway add not only water but all kinds of adulterated stuff, so if they go out of circulation it is good for consumers," Gupta expressed a general public sentiment.
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