Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will unveil the statue of Dr. Verghese Kurien, installed at Milma Bhavan here, on November 26, to mark the valedictory of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of the Father of India’s White Revolution, organised by the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (KCMMF).
The Chief Minister will virtually unveil the statue at a function to be held at RDR Auditorium, Edapazhanji in the city, at 3.30 pm, and inaugurate the state-level celebrations of the National Milk Day, observed on the birth anniversary of Dr. Kurien, the ‘Milkman of India.’
Minister for Animal Husbandry & Dairy Development J Chinchurani will preside over the function. Transport Minister Antony Raju will present the scholarship for the best B-Tech Dairy Science students of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at the ceremony, said Milma Chairman K S Mani at a press conference here on Thursday.
Opposition Leader V D Satheesan will deliver the keynote address and Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Mayor Arya Rajendran will honour Unni Kanayi, the sculptor of the statue of Dr. Kurien.
Ahead of the inauguration ceremony, former Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) Shri T Nandakumar will deliver the Dr. Verghese Kurien memorial lecture at 2.30 pm. Nirmala Kurien, daughter of Dr. Kurien, will attend the function through video conferencing as a special guest.
Milma Chairman K S Mani will welcome the gathering and Milma Managing Director Dr. Patil Suyog Subhash Rao will propose a vote of thanks.
Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Department Secretary Tinku Biswal; Thiruvananthapuram Co-operative Milk Producers Union (TRCMPU) Administrative Committee Convenor N Bhasurangan; Ernakulam Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union Chairman John Theruvath; Dairy Farmers Welfare Board Chairman N Rajan; Animal Husbandry Department Director Dr A Kowsigan; Dairy Development Department Director V P Sureshkumar; Kerala Livestock Development Board MD Dr Jose James; and Corporation Councillor Sheeja Madhu will also attend.
Dr. Kurien centenary celebrations got under way on November 26, 2020 in Kozhikode, the birthplace of Dr. Kurien (1921-2012), who pioneered the ‘White Revolution’ in 1970 that went on to make the country the world’s largest milk producer. The celebrations commenced when late Shri. PA Balan Master was at the helm of Milma.
The demand made by the dairy farmers at the commencement of the centenary celebrations that Dr. Kurien be conferred with the nation’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, still remains unfulfilled. On this occasion, we renew our plea to the Government of India to take a positive decision on this request.
Milma, formed in early 1980’s as part of the second phase of ‘Operation Flood’ launched by NDDB, has made Dr. Kurien’ mission a reality in Kerala. Now, Milma is one of India’s leading dairy cooperative networks.
Currently, Milma has around 3,300 Anand-pattern dairy cooperative societies as affiliates, organised under three regional co-operative milk producers’ unions. Milma accounts for a daily procurement of more than 15.5 lakh litres of milk.
One of Kerala’s most popular brands that reaches millions of homes daily, Milma has ensured a sustainable price and market for dairy farmers, who get the return benefit of more than 80 percent of the sale price as their milk price.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, Milma had supported the farmers substantially to tide over hard times with various welfare schemes and interventions. These include the discount on cattle feed to the tune of Rs 7.56 crore. Also, the regional unions came out with emergency relief measures when farmers were hit by back-to-back natural disasters,”K S Mani said.
These measures have greatly helped sustain the dairy sector despite fall in sale, following disruptions in supply chain when the pandemic was at its peak. However, Milma’s leadership, staff and agencies can be proud of the fact that they had together worked hard to maintain the supply of milk and other staple dairy products to the customers without any interruption in this most trying period, he added.
In order to overcome the pandemic crisis, a discount of Rs 400 was given on one sack of cattle feed as part of the relief measures implemented by the government. Thus, around 1,16,878 sacks of cattle feed were distributed through Milma and it provided a huge relief to farmers.
As part of the promotional activities of Milma, the gift coupon scheme was launched in October. With each sack of Milma Gold cattle feed, dairy farmers are entitled to a gift coupon worth Rs 250, which can be used for buying Milma’s milk products and Milmamin mineral mixture. Milma earmarked Rs 3 crore for this scheme.
Over the last one year, Milma held a series of programmes across the state to tell the dairy farmers, especially the young generation, of the outstanding contributions of Dr Kurien and about his unflinching faith in the vital role of farmers down in the nation building process.
Marking the commencement of the centenary celebrations, farmers of over 3,300 milk co-operatives launched a campaign of writing letters to the Prime Minister to press for the demand for conferment of Bharat Ratna on Dr. Kurien. The Postal Department issued a special commemoration stamp and Milma brought out a special milk sachet carrying the image of Dr Kurien.
Dr. Kurien played a pivotal role in building the milk movement since 1950s at Anand in Gujarat. He weeded out middlemen from the system, and ensured that the dairy farmer got the income directly from the sale of milk through the cooperatives.
N Bhasurangan; John Theruvath; and Dr. Patil Suyog Subhash Rao, were also present at the press conference.
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