Bangalore, June 18;Nearly 60 lakh students across the State could be receiving their quota of milk in a brick pack, as the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) — tasked to supply milk to the youngsters — fears supplying loose milk could result in adulteration. Happily for the children, flavoured milk could be a part of the scheme which will take off on July 1
KMF will initially supply loose milk as setting up its plants for the purpose will take at least three months. Four plants will be set up with State funding at a cost of about Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 crore from where the brick packs will be supplied, a source told The Hindu. “However, the State government has to take a final call as it entails huge amount of investment, which the federation may not be able to make,” the official said. The milk will be supplied for some 200 days a year to the children.
The brick packs will enable KMF to not only supply hygienic milk but also manage its logistics well. Storage also becomes easy, the official pointed out, adding that the cost of investment on plant and packing is quite high.
The government, under the School Milk Scheme, intends to supply schoolchildren 150 ml of milk daily as part of the mid-day meal programme.
This would entail supply of about 7 lakh litres of milk by the KMF, which is currently procuring milk in excess. While the demand for milk is about 31 lakh litres a day, it is procuring on an average 50 lakh kilograms a day.
There are hitches though. Milk supplied in brick packs could be mired in taxation problems as it attracts VAT. The government has to take a call on waiving it as it is for a humanitarian cause. “Even the government’s indicated price for a litre of milk is falling short of our expectations. Currently a litre of toned milk is being sold at Rs. 27 in the retail market and we are hoping the government’s price comes close to it. The supply through brick packs and tax could be an additional burden,” the official said.
On Monday, the KMF board discussed these issues and in principle agreed to participate in the School Milk Scheme, which now awaits the final government approval.
Senior KMF federation also apprised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Cooperation Minister H.S. Mahadev Prasad on the issue.