The Shiv Sena party activists last week drained thousands of litres of milk near Pune, south of Mumbai, according to an online report by India Today. The provocation came after the government’s decision to import 30,000 tonnes of milk powder and 15,000 tonnes of ghee from New Zealand.
Angry Shiv Sainiks stopped a tanker on the Satara-Pune road and drained every drop of milk it was carrying. The wastage is estimated to be 50,000 litres. The activists also raised slogans and waved flags.
Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khere was quoted as saying the protest was held following the government’s decision to import from New Zealand in a move that would hurt farmers.
This isn’t the first time that the Shiv Sena has done such a protest. Last week, 45,000 litres of milk was flushed out in Satara by a farmer’s organisation aligned to the Sena.
The farmers and dairy producers are up in arms against the government’s decision to import milk products. They are also sore about local purchases being slashed by 20%.
Raje Nimbalkar, a milk producer, said that India was a major producer of milk and there was no need to import.
The bizarre protest by the Sena invited outrage from political parties. “Thousands of children are deprived of milk. This is not the way to lodge a protest,” said Congress leader Rajiv Shukla.
Meanwhile, Business Day (Stuff.co.nz) reported that Fonterra is concerned about protests in India over imports of Zealand dairy products and is consulting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade over the issue.
The attack on a local milk tanker – and on five other tankers earlier in the week – followed threats to burn a ship carrying imports of milk from New Zealand.
The protest was against the National Dairy Development Board’s (NDDB) decision to import 30,000 tonne of milk powder and 15,000 tonne of ghee from New Zealand.
Farmers have asked government officials to scrap the imports and have threatened to set on fire a ship due to arrive in Mumbai on August 18 with the New Zealand dairy products.