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Farmers' unrest: Gujarat agitators empty milk cans demanding farm loan waiver

Ahmedabad: Demanding complete loan waiver for small and marginalised farmers of Gujarat, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and his supporters on Wednesday threw away hundreds of litres of milk on roads in different parts of the state.

Thakor was briefly detained by Sola police in the city for taking part in one such protest on the SG Highway.

OBC leader Alpesh Thakor throws milk on road during a farmers agitation in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. PTI

OBC leader Alpesh Thakor throws milk on road during a farmers agitation in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. PTI

OBC leader Alpesh Thakor throws milk on road during a farmers agitation for loan waiver in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

After his release, the Thakor community leader gave a one-day ultimatum to the BJP-led Gujarat government to announce loan waiver for poor farmers having less than 5 acres of land.

"If the government does not announce farm loan waiver by Thursday evening, we will take out a farmers' rally from Gandhi Ashram here till Gandhinagar on 7 July. If that does not work, we will sit on dharna in the state capital for three days, starting from 8 July," Thakor said.

Thakor is the president of OBC-SC-ST Ekta Manch as well as of Kshatriya Thakor Sena. A few days ago, he had appealed to farmers and cattle rearers not to supply milk to dairies for two days to mount pressure on the state government.

On Wednesday, his supporters and members of his outfits staged protests in different parts of the state. They threw milk on roads in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Patan, Anand and Ahmedabad districts.

Thakor also said the call he had given for stopping milk supply remained successful.

"Farmers of around 10,000 villages on Wednesday refrained from selling milk to local dairy societies, which ultimately hit milk procurement of large dairies. Our call was successful. We threw away milk on the road just to warn the government and force it to announce loan waiver," he said.

State health minister Shankar Chaudhary, who is also the chairman of Banas Dairy, refuted Thakor's claims of milk supply being affected in Gujarat on Wednesday.

"On Tuesday, around 1.45 crore litres of milk was supplied to dairies across Gujarat by farmers. On Wednesday, around 1.46 crore litres were supplied. This shows that there was no impact of Thakor's call. People should not worry about milk supply in coming days," Chaudhary said.

The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, which markets products under brand Amul, also maintained that there was no impact on its collection from its members.

"One should not pay attention to such rumours. There has been no effect on the collection of milk at any of the village milk cooperative societies of Gujarat. Our milk collection in Gujarat was 144 lakh litres yesterday and it has increased to 146 lakh litres across the state today," GCMMF managing director RS Sodhi said in a release.

He said the company's sales in Ahmedabad city have also not been affected.

"We are selling 15 lakh litres of milk per day in Ahmedabad and 48 lakh litres per day across Gujarat," said.

Published Date: Jul 05, 2017 23:01 PM | Updated Date: Jul 05, 2017 23:04 PM

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