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Maharashtra Dairies threaten to stop milk collection on pouch scarcity.

Date: 24-11-2018
Subject: Maharashtra Dairies threaten to stop milk collection on pouch scarcity
Reacting to the decision of plastic manufacturers in Maharashtra and Daman to stop supply of plastic films, used to make pouches, to dairies in the state from December 15, dairies have threatened to stop collection of milk from farmers from the same date.

The Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers’ Association in a letter to dairies conveyed its decision to suspend supply of plastic films in view of ongoing actions against the industry. The decision was taken for not preparing an extended producers responsibility (EPR) by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). As per rules, manufacturers or producers must submit the EPR plan, including modalities of a waste collection system, to the urban development department for approval.

Plastic manufacturers claimed that more than 150 to 200 units have stopped functioning because of the alleged harassment at the hands of pollution board officials.

Plastic manufacturers have maintained that they have requested the MPCB to frame guidelines on EPR preparation, as there is little clarity on the subject. Manufacturers said it is not possible for them to take the entire responsibility of preparing and following the EPR because they only supply films to dairies which then make milk pouches.

Plastic manufacturers have been getting closure notices from the MPCB for not preparing the EPR and, so it is better that we stop supply, one of the manufacturers said. In the Pune region, 43 plastic manufacturers of plastic have been given closure notices for various reasons, including operating without consent or EPR.

Officials at the Milk Producers and Processors’ Welfare Association in a meeting with 58 private and cooperative dairies on Thursday said two major issues were discussed – the issue of subsidy and supply of milk pouches.

The state government has decided to extend the subsidy of Rs 5 per litre to dairies and Rs 50 per kg to milk powder for export to January 19, 2019. “Around Rs 80-crore of subsidy from September 20, 2018 is still pending. Dairies, however, have gone ahead and made payments to dairy farmers and now both cooperatives and private dairies have no money left in hand and are in financial trouble. The government should directly deposit the subsidy into farmers’ accounts,” Prakash Kutwal, general secretary of the association, said.

“We will wait till November 30 for the subsidy and if that does not happen dairies will move out of the subsidy scheme and begin purchase of milk from farmers at prices that they can afford, he said, adding that a final meeting will be held on December 5 where the decision of dairies will be announced…” he said.

As regards the issue of being kept out of the ambit of EPR, Kutwal said since plastic films would not be available to make pouches and milk cannot be packed, there would no point in supply and collection of milk. A meeting is slated with the minister for environment in a couple of days.

Source: financialexpress.com

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