Aarey milk booths to sell veggies too

Mumbaikars may soon be able to buy farm fresh vegetables along with their daily supply of milk. Planning to give a makeover to the Aarey booths in the city, the state government wants to replicate the Delhi model where Mother Dairy sells vegetables along with milk and milk products. It also plans to increase the number of booths and add 8,000 more in the city.

There are 1,800 Aarey booths in the city which were set up in 1975 to primarily sell milk collected in the government dairies in Worli and Goregaon. However, the state government feels the number is inadequate to cater to the needs of the population of 1.4 crore. "We will be soon appointing an agency to carry out the geographical survey and increase the number of booths. Every railway station and bus stop will have a booth. Around 10,000 booths may be required," said minister for dairy development, animal husbandry and fisheries, Dr Nitin Raut.

The minister wants to replicate the Mother Dairy model of Delhi for the new booths. The Mother Dairy company of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has 5,000 outlets in Delhi and NCR, which sell milk and milk products. A number of these booths sell vegetables and the model has been successful.

Raut said a tie-up can be made with Maharashtra farmers to sell vegetables in these booths. "The idea is to give people option of buying vegetables while they are coming to purchase milk at these outlets. It would be of help to housewives and others," he said adding that Mumbai market has a huge potential and there was a need to exploit it.

The department is also in the process of overhauling the booths in the city which are leased to local families. While the booths were set to encourage sale of Aarey milk and milk products, Raut said that other food products which may not come in the dairy category will also be given permission.

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