Recalling the outstanding contributions of Dr. Verghese Kurien to the inclusive growth of the rural sector, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said the vision of the Father of India’s White Revolution is of increased relevance at a time when the country’s agricultural and co-operative sectors are facing consequences of defective policies.
The Chief Minister was speaking after virtually unveiling the statue of Dr. Verghese Kurien, installed at Milma Bhavan, besides inaugurating the National Milk Day celebrations and the valedictory of the year-long Dr. Verghese Kurien centenary celebrations under the aegis of the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (KCMMF).
“Recalling the contributions of Dr. Verghese Kurien becomes significant on two counts. He is the architect of India’s White Revolution that imparted a great momentum to the country’s dairy sector. He also reminds us of the substantial contributions that the co-operative sector can make to economic development”, the Chief Minister said.
This year’s National Milk Day assumes added significance as it is being celebrated when farmers in the country are pulling out of farming and agricultural production is dwindling as a result of defective policies being pursued and the co-operative sector coming under attack, Vijayan said.
There is a strong argument that governments should stop intervening in the food sector, leaving it entirely to big monopolies. But the experience the world over is that such a situation will only lead to steep price rise. Food security can be achieved only by meticulous planning and implementation of projects. This makes the intervention of governments in food sector and open market crucial, the Chief Minister said.
The Kerala Government is making the best efforts to achieve self sufficiency in agriculture and ensure remunerative prices for farmers by making necessary interventions in production and distribution processes. This approach has helped the state to almost become self-sufficient in milk production. The state is now in a position to produce 70 lakh litres of milk a day out of its demand of 80 lakh litres, he said.
Noting that Malayalis could be proud of Dr. Kurien’s services to the nation, he said Milma was formed by drawing inspiration from the success of Amul, built by him. As his native state, Dr Kurien had shown deep interest in Kerala. The growth of Milma demonstrates that public sector institutions could make immense contributions to the society if they are run efficiently.
In her presidential address, Minister for Animal Husbandry & Dairy Development J Chinchurani said India is greatly indebted to Dr. Verghese Kurien for its transformation from a milk-deficient country into one of world’s largest producers of milk.
Recalling his contributions to the nation’s dairy sector, Chinchurani called for collective efforts for getting the nation’s highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna conferred on Dr. Kurien.
“In the 1940s, the country used to depend heavily on imports to meet its demand for milk. Now, we are one of world’s largest milk producers. This has happened mainly due to the farsightedness and tireless efforts of Dr. Kurien”, she said.
The vision, social commitment and managerial skills of Dr. Kurien have always been a source of inspiration for Kerala and helped it emerge as a milk-sufficient state, she added.
On the occasion, Transport Minister Antony Raju presented the Dr. Verghese Kurien Scholarship for the best B-Tech Dairy Science students of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at the ceremony. Raju also honoured Unni Kanayi, the sculptor of the statue of Dr. Kurien.
“The National Milk Day celebrations are being held at a time when the cooperative sector in the country is facing many challenges. There should be concerted efforts for improving the lives of lakhs of dairy farmers by lending them a helping hand,” the Minister added.
Opposition Leader V D Satheesan, in his online keynote address, lauded Milma’s remarkable efforts to make the state self-sufficient in milk production.
Delivering the Dr. Verghese Kurien memorial lecture, former Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) Shri T Nandakumar said fearlessness and honesty were the hallmarks of Dr Kurien’s personality. The Milk Man believed that dairy farmers should be given back the benefit for their hard work, he added.
Nirmala Kurien, daughter of Dr. Kurien, who was present as a special guest through video conferencing, said her father’s name is engraved in the history of dairy sector in India. She added that Dr Kurien firmly believed that the interests of farmers have to be protected to increase the footfall in the sector.
Milma Chairman K S Mani, in his welcome address, said it’s a proud moment for Milma as the cooperative milk society at Deepthi Giri, Wayanad, has been selected as the second Best Milk Cooperative Society in the country by NDDB.
Besides, Resmi I.M from Kottayam has been adjudged as the Second Best dairy farmer. From December 1, Rs 70 discount will be given for Gold cattle feed and Rs 25 discount for Rich cattle feed, he added.
Milma Managing Director Dr. Patil Suyog Subhashrao proposed a vote of thanks.
Pharma firm Provet presented Rs 28 lakh-worth medicines to Thiruvananthapuram Co-operative Milk Producers Union (TRCMPU) for free of cost at the function.
TRCMPU Administrative Committee Convenor N Bhasurangan; Ernakulam Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union Chairman John Theruvath; Dairy Development Director T. K. Anikumari; and Kerala Livestock Development Board MD, Dr. Jose James were also present.
Dr. Kurien centenary celebrations got under way on November 26, 2020 in Kozhikode, the birthplace of Dr. Kurien (1921-2012), with the dairy farmers affiliated to Milma making a fervent appeal for conferment of Bharat Ratna on him.