Asserting that Dairy sector has potential to transform J&K’s rural economy, Principal Secretary Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, Navin K Choudhary, today emphasized for evolving a robust roadmap with its implementation on the ground for achieving the desired goals.
Principal Secretary, while reviewing the measures needed towards developing the dairy sector in J&K during a meeting held at Civil Secretariat, asked all the stakeholders for working with a new vision and pro-active approach to take this potential vocation to new dimensions.
Choudhary asked the officers to scale up setting up of dairies in private sector besides encouraging enhanced processing in terms of other milk products like cheese, paneer, butter, curd, milk powder etc. He emphasized upon them to put in their best to make sure that in the next one year all related programmes are successfully implemented resulting in nil import of milk products in UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
While reviewing the CAPEX Plan, Principal Secretary asked the department to not to undertake any new construction work rather focus on completion of ongoing works. He asked the department to revise their CAPEX Plan to strengthen veterinary services, equipment in hospitals and veterinary centres. He was apprised that there is sufficient stock of medicines and vaccines are available for the next few months.
Principal Secretary directed the officers to set up procurement process in motion at the earliest.
Choudhary also asked for robust production of cattle feed for which a coordinated action plan be implemented in consultation with the Agriculture Production Department. He asked for the establishment of more units producing cattle feed and poultry feed in the Union Territory.
Meanwhile, Choudhary reviewed the immediate situation in view of COVID-19 pandemic and was informed that household consumption of milk has not gone down while there is shortfall of 4 to 6 lakh litre (approximately) in consumption due to closer of hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, dhabas, tea stalls, banquet halls besides absence of various social and religious functions.
In this regard, Principal Secretary had a detailed discussion with Principal Secretary SWD and the two departments have agreed to deliver milk to Anganwadi centers under “Mid Day Meal” scheme and “Poshan Scheme”. Both public sector as well as private sector milk processors will supply milk in half litre pouches to the Anganwadi centres for further distribution among the children by Anganwadi officials.
Both the Principal Secretaries directed their officers to work out an effective mechanism within 3 days to start this process early next week.
The Principal Secretary asked both public sector organisations like AMUL and private sector milk processors to set up large number of Milk Vending Machines (milk ATMs) across Jammu and Kashmir and to begin within Srinagar and Jammu cities. He assured them that Eol’s in this regard will be issued early next week.
All representatives of milk producers welcomed this move as it will ensure unhindered milk supply in urban areas even in difficult situations like the prevailing.
Expressing dismay over the price fixation mechanism by CAPD Department of milk and milk products which generally gets revised only after a year, Principal Secretary said that this does not take the producer’s interest in terms of their rising costs.
He emphasised that while consumer’s interest should be taken care of producer’s interest in terms of remuneration prices also needs to be ensured. He asked the officers to immediately workout a viable Price Fixation Mechanism like in other parts of the country. The arbitrary prices also result in other malpractices which could be avoided through an established mechanism envisaging periodic review of the price of inputs as well as end milk products.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Director Animal Husbandry Jammu Vivek Sharma, representatives of AMUL and Mission Director Dairy Development, Purnima Mittal while Director Animal Husbandry Kashmir and representatives of Khyber Dairy, Kashmir participated in the meeting through video conferencing.