Butter me up: Milky Anand looks at hand, licks at saffron

Anand (Gujarat) | Updated: 28 November, 2022 8:33 pm IST

In the Congress stronghold of Anand, popularly known as the ‘Milk City of India’, the wind seems to be blowing in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has ruled Gujarat for 27 years now.

Anand is the home district of India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and is currently represented by five Congress and two BJP MLAs in the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly.

It is the home to India’s biggest milk producer Amul, which holds sway over lakhs of farmers in the region. “Around 36 lakh farmers are associated with Amul in Gujarat alone. We process nearly 3 crore litres of milk every day in this state alone,” Amit Vyas, managing director of Amul Dairy tells The New Indian.

At Amul’s milk collection centre in Sandesar village, Ashok, a farmer, aptly sums up the sentiment in the area, “People like the BJP because it has done good work in the state. Other parties only make empty promises.”

Under Amul’s cooperative system, any registered farmer can bring any amount of milk to the collection centre where the company employees check its quality for possible contamination and adulteration.

Known as the ‘Anand Pattern’, the system operates at three levels village. While a village dairy cooperative society collects the milk while the district milk union procures the milk from the village society and processes it. The state milk federation is responsible for marketing milk and milk products. First introduced by Amul, this system has been replicated in different parts of the country.

Gujarat produced 80,351 thousand tonnes of milk between 2015 and 2020. India produced 198.4 million tonnes of the milk in the financial year 2019-20, according to the government of India.

“We procure milk from 370 farmers of this village per day. Whenever needed, we send a veterinary doctor for treatment of cows and buffaloes of our registered farmers,” Vinod Bhai Patel, who works in Amul’s procurement department, explains the functioning of the milk collection centre.

Waiting in a queue for his turn at the centre, 35-year-old Gurdan Bhai minces no words to declare: “I will vote for the BJP.”

“Both Congress and BJP are good, but I will vote for Modi Ji in this election,” says Pariykant Pandya, another farmer.

In Anand city, salesman Kismat at Amul Plaza says: “See, I have been voting for the BJP all along and this election will not be any different.”

A government employee, who does not wish to be named, admits that there are some issues like inflation that the next government must address. “Nonetheless, the BJP has taken the state on the path of progress and it will come back to power again,” he says.

As a company, Amul does not take any political line or favour any party, says Amul Dairy MD Vyas, demanding, “The government should focus on the technology to increase the productivity of cows and buffaloes.”

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