(Eds: Adding details) Mumbai/Nashik, Aug 1 (PTI) The opposition BJP on Saturday led protests demanding a hike in milk procurement prices in various parts of Maharashtra.
At many places, farmers poured milk on roads and staged `rasta-roko' (blockades).
The agitators' main demands included increased subsidy of Rs 10 per litre for milk, and procurement price of Rs 30 per litre. They also demanded a hike in the export subsidy for milk powder.
Similar protests for better procurement prices for milk were held recently by various farmers' organisations like the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghantna (SSS), Rayat Shetkari Sanghatana and All India Kisan Sabha.
On Saturday, protesters led by state BJP general secretary and MLA Devyani Pharande squatted on the Mumbai-Agra national highway in Nashik district in north Maharashtra.
They raised slogans against the Shiv Sena-led MVA government before being dispersed by the police.
At Sayyad Pimpri village in the district, farmers drank milk they had brought for delivery at a milk collection centre.
In Latur in Marathwada region, BJP MLC Rameshappa Karad led a 'rasta roko' agitation in Renapur.
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil targeted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
'I want to know how many times did CM Thackeray visit Delhi to raise the issues of milk producers in the state. If he doesn't know the issues of the dairy industry, he should send (to Delhi) leaders like Ajit Pawar (NCP) and Balasaheb Thorat (Congress) who have in-depth knowledge of the sector,' he said.
The NCP and Congress are constituents of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Another BJP leader Haribhau Bagade accused the NCP and Congress of 'misleading' people on the issue of the import of milk powder.
The Congress and NCP had alleged that the Centre's import policy is affecting the domestic dairy industry.
'It's an annual practice by the Centre to float tenders for importing milk powder. The Centre has not imported even a kilogram of milk powder so far,' said Bagade.
Leaders of the NCP and Congress should instead initiate measures to increase milk procurement rates for farmers, he said. PTI ND COR NSK KRK KRK