COVID19: Citizens Still Rely on Local Milkmen

COVID-19 National

Braving the COVID-19 scare, people go out to buy milk from the local milkman instead of using packaged milk. They say they are afraid that they will contract the virus from packaged milk.

By Shalu Chowrasia

Shambhu walks two kilometres daily from his home to the local milkman’s to buy milk even during the lockdown. He doesn’t stock up on packaged milk as he is scared of the deadly Coronavirus making its way to his home through these packets.

“I am not sure about the safety measures taken while packaging milk on such a large scale. With the local milk, I’m at least assured that it is not coming through any contaminated channel. I can also check that the milkman maintains hygiene,” he said. 

On the other hand, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has been urging everyone to stay home to make the lockdown a success. Large-scale dairy service providers, like Amul and Mother Dairy, have been tweeting to ensure that citizens don’t indulge in panic buying of milk products since there is no shortage of milk.

Managing Director, RS Sodhi, of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., which markets dairy stuff under Amul brand also recently told the media as milk is an essential commodity, there shall be no restriction on people involved in procurement, processing and distribution of milk.

Local Milkmen Suffering Losses

Though some people like Shambhu are still stepping out of their houses to buy milk, many local milkmen also complain that they have been incurring losses. “Previously people used to come to the shed to buy milk. Though some still do, I have to go out to deliver to earn my bread and butter,” said Gorakh, who has been selling milk in Howrah, West Bengal for over a decade.

Gorakh’s cowshed in Howrah district | Image credit: Shalu Chowrasia

The business of the local milkmen has been hit primarily due to a drop in demand from local sweet shop and tea stall owners. Earlier, Rajesh Yadav who sells milk in Jhajha, Bihar used to supply milk to these shops but now he says that a huge volume of the milk produced goes to waste as there is no demand.

In a positive move, to support the milkmen at the time of crisis, the Maharashtra Government in a press statement said that milk produced by farmers will be procured by milk cooperatives in the state. The procured milk will then be converted to milk powder and sold online, the statement said. 

However, though the dairy service providers including the local milkmen are being lauded for their efforts in supplying fresh milk and milk products every day, citizens still remain worried about how safe the packaged milk is.

Feature Image Courtesy: Flickr


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