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Heat wave dries up milk at source
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Persisting heat wave in various parts of this region has rendered milch cattle dry. During the past two days, when the day temperature hovered around 48° C, milk supply to various milk plants of cooperative milk unions had gone down by 40,000 litres per day. Besides, milk collection by private sector plants has gone down by 1.6 lakh litres during the same period.

“Dairy farmers have suffered a loss worth Rs 32 lakh per day because of a decrease in the milk yield due to soaring mercury during the past two days”, a senior officer of state government said. Though temperature came down today in the Shivalik foothills and adjacent areas like Chandigarh, sun continues to be merciless in most of the parts of Punjab.

Milk collection by cooperative milk societies has come down to 5 lakh litres against 15 lakh litres in the peak season that will begin after September. “Daily demand of milk is in the range of 6.5 lakh litres. However, availability of milk with cooperative milk unions is of 5 lakh litres. Demand is being met after preparing milk from dry milk powder.

Meanwhile, union agriculture and cooperation minister Sharad Pawar has convened a meeting of all states to finalise the policy to jack up milk production in the country to meet the growing demand for liquid milk as well as milk products. Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are the states, which are producing 50 per cent of the total milk available in the country. The union government has earmarked Rs 22,000 crore for enhancing the milk production by promoting dairy farming.

Sources said Punjab milkfed would put up a detailed proposal to promote dairy in the state. Punjab is reducing the interest from 12 per cent to an affordable level on the loan to be given by the union government’s institutions to promote dairy farming in the state and other parts of the country. “No dairy farmer can afford to take loan on the rate of 12 per cent to run his milk business”, a senior officer said.

Punjab has prepared a plan for clean milk production and collection at the society level.

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