“We had a strike on Sunday, to pressure the dairy farmers, and we would have had another one the following day, but they succumbed to our pressure,” says Malik, a milk retailer. He explains that the dairy farmers suffered a great loss on Sunday when all milk shops were closed because of the strike. Consequently, it was informally “decided” that they would try and make a deal with the retailers and wholesalers and let them sell the milk at a higher price, Rs32 per litre.
However, according to several retailers, the meetings, which were held among the cattle farmers, the retailers and the wholesalers, failed and no decision has been reached as yet.
“The dairy farmers are facing expenses that cannot be ignored at any rate,” retaliates Haji Rashid, the finance officer of the Dairy Farmers Association. “Our costs have increased of the cattle fodder, as well as transport costs, the water bill, and even the cattle maintenance. We have suffered immensely because of this rise in prices, and the entire blame cannot be solely laid upon us, for the increase in milk prices.”
Rashid’s complaint is echoed by other members of the Dairy Farmers’ Association. The rise in prices in fodder ingredients has been sharp, almost double. For instance, khul (cattle-feed) which was sold at the rate of Rs300 in a 50 kilogram bag, is now being sold at Rs800 for the same amount. In between, the price of khul had even risen to Rs1000. Another ingredient for fodder, choker, which was previously sold at the rate of Rs150 in a 37 kg bag, is now sold at Rs 300. Hay (bhoosa) which was sold for Rs100 for 100 kg is now being sold at Rs250. Most of the other composites of the cattle-feed have become more expensive and according to the farmers it is hard for them to keep up with these prices. Haji Rashid says that the water bill has also doubled, leaving the farmers in a quandary concerning the overhead costs. He says it used to be Rs2280 per month, which has now increased to Rs5000.
According to the farmers, this is a situation that is beyond their control, and claim that the city government is responsible for this. Rehan, a milk retailer says that the City Nazim has refused to lower the prices for fodder, and the price ceiling remains at Rs28 per kilogramme for milk at retail outlets. However, he says, the maintenance of the price would only be possible, if the costs are lowered at all levels in the milk business, starting from the dairy farmers down to the retailers. “We cannot keeping selling at these prices when our costs are not being met,” he says.
Malik Yasin, also a member of the All-Karachi Milk Retailers’ Welfare Association, says that there is to be a meeting with the City Nazim on February 9 where a decision is to be made regarding the prices of milk sold at shops. He says there is a general expectation that the cattle farmers will side with him in trying to pressure the government to change the level of price ceiling from Rs28 per kilogramme to at least Rs 32. However, many retailers have opined that this would not happen, and appear to be pessimistic about the situation. There are some who think that they might have to close down business, but this is only a tiny percentage among those who are sustaining pressure on higher-ups to lower costs, or raise the price ceiling.
The average rate of milk in Karachi is Rs 32-34 per kilogramme, whereas in many places the rates hover at around Rs30. Surprisingly there are still very few areas such as in Shah Faisal Colony where milk is still being sold at Rs28 per kilogramme, but this, according to the retailers, is milk of a lower quality, as it is that bought from Lea Market, which is an open mandi for milk. Malik Yasin says that this milk is diluted with water, , and so selling it at Rs28 per kilogram is not such a loss to those who have costs to cover. He says the better quality milk is the one, which is acquired directly from Cattle Colony, which is fresh and pure.
Area Price per litre (Rs)
Akhtar Colony 32
F.B Area 34
Shah Faisal Colony, block 1 28
Shah Faisal Colony, block 3 30
Burns Road 34
(By Xari Jalil, The News-2, 08/02/2007)
CDGK yet to build wall, TPO being used as go-between
KARACHI: A wall has yet to be built by the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) around the Mawach Goth graveyard. Local residents had a meeting with Baldia Town TPO, Noman Siddiqui, on Monday, and presented their case to him again.
“We don’t want the entire area,” resident Yaqoob Khashkheli said. “We just want sufficient space for the graveyard. We had a meeting with the TPO today (Monday). He said he’ll speak with the DDO Land (Ikramullah) and the town nazim tomorrow (Tuesday) and will inform us about the situation then. The CDGK has not started to build the wall yet. They can’t do it until they reach an agreement with us.”
However, TPO Noman Siddiqui had a different take on the events. “We’re responsible only for maintaining the law and order situation in the area. We are not the authority to solve land ownership disputes,” he told Daily Times. “My main concern is that the people of the area should be satisfied before a wall is built, so that there are no law and