Min­is­ter calls for meet to re­solve milk pouch is­sue

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Neha Madaan & Bhavika Jain

Pune/Mum­bai: Af­ter dairies in the state upped the ante on their stand on stop­ping milk pouch pack­ag­ing, state en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Ram­das Kadam called a meet­ing on De­cem­ber 11 to find a so­lu­tion to the is­sue. The meet­ing will be at­tended by dairy rep­re­sen­ta­tives, dairy de­vel­op­ment min­is­ter and en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment of­fi­cials to re­solve the “mis­un­der­stand­ing” over pouches.

Kadam clar­i­fied that the depart­ment had not barred plas­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers from sup­ply­ing plas­tic sheets. He said dairies must en­sure the raw ma­te­rial is stamped to en­sure it’s not used for any­thing else. Kadam said milk sup­pli­ers have only been told to en­sure a proper ‘buy-back’ scheme of used pouches, which they have not yet done.

Dairy rep­re­sen­ta­tives had told TOI on Fri­day that over 200 big dairies were likely to stop poly­thene pack­ag­ing and buy­ing milk from farm­ers even if one of them ran out of plas­tic film af­ter the third week of De­cem­ber.

Plas­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers in the state and Da­man had in Novem­ber de­cided to stop plas­tic film (used to make milk pouches) sup­plies to dairies cit­ing con­cerns over their in­abil­ity to pre­pare an ex­tended pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity (EPR) plan un­der the plas­tic ban in the state. The EPR in­volves modal­i­ties of a waste col­lec­tion sys­tem sub­mit­ted to au­thor­i­ties for ap­proval. The dairies ex­pressed in­abil­ity to pre­pare an EPR, cit­ing im­prac­ti­cal­ity in im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Once dairies stop pouch pack­ag­ing, milk sup­plies are likely to be af­fected as there will be no al­ter­na­tive.

Kadam said, “We only said milk pouches must have a de­posit of 50 paise to Re1 each, and once empty, they have to be re­turned by cus­tomers for re­cy­cling in lieu of the de­posit. But that is not be­ing done.”

Prakash Kut­wal, sec­re­tary, Milk Pro­duc­ers’ and Pro­ces­sors’ Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, which has 203 mem­bers in the state, said even if one dairy runs out of film af­ter De­cem­ber 15, the as­so­ci­a­tion will be no­ti­fied. “Within three days, other dairies will stop pouch pack­ag­ing. Dairies have dou­bled stocks of film so that no­body will have to come to a point where pouch pack­ag­ing stops, es­pe­cially for the ben­e­fit of farm­ers and cus­tomers. Even if one dairy owner runs out of film, all dairies will stand by him,” said Kut­wal.

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