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Farmers launch agitation over demand for hike in milk prices

Pune: Farmers started an agitation in Sangli and Kolhapur districts of western Maharashtra on Tuesday over their various demands, including a hike in milk procurement prices.

The agitators along with members of the Raju Shetti- led Swambhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, a farmers' organisation, stopped milk tankers and emptied them on the Pune-Bengaluru highway passing the two districts.

Talking to PTI, Shetti said they are demanding an increase in milk procurement prices by Rs 5 per litre and the benefit to be directly deposited into the accounts of milk producers.

"We are also demanding an export subsidy of Rs 30 for milk producers and cancellation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on milk products," he said.

Shetti also demanded cancellation of the Centre's decision to import 10,000 tonnes of milk powder.

He said milk business in the state has been affected "because of the policies of the central government".

"Since early morning, members of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana have been agitating in the region (Sangli and Kolhapur) by stopping the milk tankers and spilling milk on roads," he added.

BJP Pune unit president Jagdish Mulik also said they will to launch a statewide agitation from August 1, if the demands of milk producers are not met.

On Monday, BJP leaders in Pune submitted a memorandum of their demands to Collector Naval Kishore Ram.

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