After plastic was banned in Maharashtra, Local Dairies are threatening to sell loose milk instead of the present system of selling milk in plastic pouches. Accusing the government of holding dairy sector to ransom under the garb of plastic ban, Maharashtra dairy owners have yet again expressed their helplessness in being able to come up with a buyback mechanism for milk plastic pouches.
Dairy owners have instead asked the government to direct state-run dairies Aarey Milk and Mahananda Dairies to come up with a successful pilot for the buyback mechanism, which they said they are willing to follow, Vinayakrao Patil, president, Maharashtra Milk Producers and Processors Association said after a meeting of cooperative and private dairy owners in Pune.
If these dairies fail to come up with successful pilot and the government still insists on dairy owners to come up with a buyback mechanism for the sector, then dairy owners shall stop providing milk in plastic pouches and sell milk in loose form through milk tankers or provide the entire milk stocks to the milk powder industry where there is a good demand. As part of the extended producer responsibility (EPR) plan under the plastic ban, milk producers have to inform the government how they will collect and recycle empty plastic pouches.
Prakash Kutwal, secretary of the association, said the dairy owners are willing to come up with a buyback mechanism for Pune city alone as it would not be possible for dairy owners selling milk in different parts of the state to collect milk pouches from consumers and establish a buyback mechanism. We have had a meeting with the authorities of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and have sought land for setting up a processing plant for plastic. While the requirement is for processing some 12 tonne per day, dairy owners are willing to set up a plant for 30 tonne per day. Patil said the PMC has not responded positively so far.
Kutwal said that dairy owners selling across the state will not be able to collect plastic pouches from various cities and have therefore decided to hold meetings with Amul Milk and Mother Dairy and other big players in state to sell loose milk.