Amul to take over govt’s dairy plant

The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which processes milk and markets its products with the brand name Amul, has decided to take over the dairy plant project that the Akhilesh Yadav government had announced with much fanfare it would develop near Lucknow.

A Kanpur branch of Banas Dairy, an Amul group dairy cooperative, will set up and run the plant with processing capacity of 5 lakh litre milk a day.

The UP government has earmarked 25 acres land at Chak Ganjaria farms in Lucknow for the project and Chief Minister Akhilesh had laid the foundation stone of the plant on September 3. Akhilesh had announced that the project would be completed before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections so that it could be showcased as an achievement of the SP government.

The government first attempted to set up the plant on the public-private partnership (PPP) model. After receiving a dull response, the government decided to take a Rs 280 crore loan from the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) and give it to UP Pradeshik Cooperative Dairy Federation to set up the dairy plant. The government also decided to tie up with Gujarat-based National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to provide necessary technical expertise to PCDDF.

Later in January this year, the government offered Amul group to take over the project. Sources said the government took the decision to save on the project cost and avoid taking the loan from NCDC.

"Amul group has agreed to take the project and set up the plant. We have received a written communication from Amul group in this regard," said Alok Ranjan, Agriculture Production Commissioner of UP. Amul group will have to purchase the land that is earmarked for the dairy plant.

Alok Ranjan said the government has asked Amul group to take milk only from local farmers in Lucknow and adjoining districts. Sources said Amul group had earlier planned to bring milk from Gujarat and process it here.

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