Dapchari News | Milk project took his home and son

Dapchari Milk Project ran out of juice 36 years ago, leaving dairy unit holders cash-strapped, jobless and homeless

Thirty-six years later, what stands testimony for a government dairy-farming scheme at Dapchari, 140 km from Mumbai, is a cowshed with dying animals. "The government gave my father 2.5 acres of farm land to raise cattle. It did well in the initial years," says the cowshed's owner, 52 year-old Devakinandan Vyas, who lives here with his wife. But local dairy project officials and the government have ignored unit holders for the past 20 years and Vyas, like many others, is battling to earn his livelihood.
Nipped in the budThe government had floated Dapchari Milk Project in 1969. It was meant to cope with milk shortage in the city. From a target of 800 Krishi centres intended to uplift the plight of farmers, only 270 were allotted to farmers having 2.5 acres of land.

The scheme started with a flourish and the unit holders were able to supply over 26 lakh litres of milk in a mere four years. "My father late Madanmohan supplied 55 litres from six cows every day. It brought in enough money to buy fodder for the cattle. We lived a comfortable existence," says Vyas. But the scheme was derailed in 1979, when the dairy staff went on a 54-day strike. Overnight, the farmers were stranded. "The government stopped procuring milk from our farms, and we didn't have money to buy fodder," says Vyas. The cattle were dying a slow death and so were the farmers. Vyas lost his only son Amit to cancer two years ago.

No home, but charged rent
Vyas and his wife Vidya are staying in the cowshed since 1989, the year their dilapidated house collapsed. The house exists on government records though, and a rent of Rs 300 is added to their outstanding dues of over Rs 60,000. Sunday MiD DAY visited the cowshed in Dapchari and was shocked to see its state (see pics). Vyas' is not the only such story.

Dairy officials say
Dairy Commissioner RD Shinde said, "Preliminary inquiries have revealed that there indeed has been illegal transfer of rights. Action will be taken after a detailed report is submitted."

original at : http://www.mid-day.com/news/2010/jun/130610-dapchari-milk-project-dairy-unit-holders-homeless-cowshed-mumbai-news.htm

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