Katraj Dairy collection down

Pune: The daily milk collection by Pune district milk cooperative, popularly known as Katraj Dairy, has been affected. Officials fear the business in the district may collapse if cash scarcity continues to haunt farmers for a few more days.

“The daily collection is dropping rapidly. We are assessing the damage. About 90% of cash transactions and payments made to milk producer farmers are through Pune District Central Cooperative Bank. The situation has worsened with RBI putting restrictions on transactions through district banks. These farmers are not getting cash. It has directly affected milk production and collection,” Vishnu Hinge, chairman of Katraj Dairy, told TOI. He added that many farmers have no money to buy fodder and maintain cattle.

Katraj officials said most farmers don’t have bank accounts and depend on the local cooperative society for payments. Local societies are connected to Katraj Dairy and get money from district banks.

Members of Katraj Dairy and district central cooperative bank recently met NCP president Sharad Pawar to discuss the problems faced by farmers and dairy business. “It is not only milk, but even routine lives of farmers are affected. There is little sowing activity in rabi season as loan disbursement has come to a standstill and rates for produce like potato have declined,” Hinge said.

However, speaking at an interactive session organised by the Pune Union of Working Journalists (PUWJ), minister of state for agriculture Sadabhau Khot said, “Farmers are happy with the demonetisation decision as they are going to reap the benefits in the long term.”

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