Saturday, July 13, 2024

Amul’s entry in Andhra Pradesh sparks row, TDP calls it attack on Telugu pride

The revival of the Chittoor Cooperative Dairy by YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government and the proposed investment by Amul Dairy has sparked a political row in Andhra Pradesh with the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lashing out at the government for hitting the Telugu pride by surrendering the cooperative to Amul in the name of revival.

The TDP questioned the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government over allowing Amul to enter Andhra Pradesh when all other southern states had refused to allow the Gujarat-based dairy cooperative.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday laid foundation stone for revival of the Chittoor Cooperative Dairy and exchanged MoU with the representatives of Amul Dairy, which would invest Rs 385 crore.

While the Chief Minister alleged that his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu closed down the Chittoor Dairy to benefit his family-run company Heritage, the main opposition party has accused him of surrendering to the Gujarat-based Amul.

During his padyatra ahead of the 2019 elections, Jagan Mohan Reddy had promised milk farmers to revive the sick unit. As part of this move, the state government entered into a MoU with Amul, which will invest up to Rs 385 crore to set up an ice-cream plant and produce and market various dairy products.

Jagan Mohan Reddy came down heavily on Chandrababu Naidu stating that the former Chief Minister had “orchestrated the destruction” of the Chittoor Dairy and finally closed it down in August 2002 to develop his family-owned Heritage.

Chittoor Dairy, which was started as a chilling unit, had grown to process 2.5 to 3 lakh litres of milk daily by 1993 but during the 10 years between 1992 and 2002, it was systematically pushed into losses by Chandrababu Naidu who started Heritage in 1992, he said.

The conspiracy to rundown Chittoor Dairy was so visible that while it suffered losses during the 10 years, Heritage continued to grow with huge profits every year.

“The dairy was closed abruptly leaving lakhs of farmers in the lurch as the management kept pending huge amounts as arrears. The Government repaid the dues of Rs 182 crore and Amul will invest Rs 385 crore for its revival,” he said, adding that it would invest Rs150 crore in the first phase.

The Chief Minister said that the unit would provide direct employment to 5,000 people and indirect employment to 2 lakh people besides benefiting 20 lakh dairy farmers in Rayalaseema.

YSRCP parliamentary party leader V. Vijayasai Reddy also launched an attack on the TDP on Wednesday.

“Some less informed, anti-farmer people are asking about the benefits of reviving the Chittoor Dairy industry that had actually closed down during TDP’s tenure in 2003 to benefit the family run dairy plant of Heritage,” he said

“Amul’s Rs 385 crore investment will create India’s largest ice cream-making unit and create 5,000 direct jobs, 2 lakh indirect jobs and also give better remuneration for 25 lakh dairy producers in Andhra Pradesh. The impact of reviving the dairy industry in Chittoor is cascading,” he tweeted.

On the other hand, the TDP’s Andhra Pradesh unit President Kinjerapu Atchen Naidu stated that surrendering the Chittoor Dairy to the Amul company is nothing but hitting the Telugu pride.

In an open letter to Chief Secretary K.S. Jawahar Reddy, Atchen Naidu expressed his concern over surrendering thousands of crores worth of public properties and cooperative dairies to Amul.

He claimed in the letter that the state government’s decision will lead to shutting down of the decades-old cooperative system.

“I am bringing it to your notice that the Chief Minister, Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy, who had promised to the people to revive the cooperative dairies, including the Chittoor Dairy, soon after coming to power, has changed tack after assuming power and undermining the whole system. Gujarat-based Amul has been invited to the State only to weaken the cooperative dairies,” he wrote.

He termed as barbaric the ‘surrendering’ of the Chittoor Dairy to Amul in the name of reviving it.

Accusing the state government of betraying the dairy farmers with its decisions, the TDP state chief claimed that already public properties worth Rs 6,000 crore have already been conceded to the Amul.

“Only for commissions and for countermanding his court cases, Mr Jagan has handed over the Chittoor Dairy to Amul for Rs 1 crore annual lease for 99 years and even its assets worth Rs 650 crore,” said Atchen Naidu.

What is the secret behind inviting the Gujarat-based dairy without considering the local units in the state, he asked and said that the state government should realise the fact that Amul will not provide employment opportunities to the locals.

Noting that the neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have deliberately kept aside the Amul learning about its deceptive attitude, Atchen Naidu said that Jagan Mohan Reddy, however, is acting as a brand ambassador of Amul.

The TDP state unit President demanded the state government to come out with details as to how the Amul will be beneficial to the people here.

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