Sikkim CM hikes ASHA workers' wages
Sikkim CM Prem Singh Golay

Gangtok: Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay said he will resign from his post if Gwalas of the state were found to not have received their payment.

“I will give up the chair if the Gwalas in Sikkim have not received payment for milk,” the CM said in the recently held session of the House.

The CM made the statement while responding to questions put forth by Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Dill Ram Thapa on the demand for a hike in minimum quality milk rates for dairy producers. Thapa had gone on to suggest Rs 60 per litre for milk having fat below 3.5 and SNF 7.5.

The issue of timely delivery of milk rates and incentives along with the quality index set by the Milk Union was challenged over media addresses by three dairy farmers Joel Gurung, Philip Rai and Vishan Gurung days before the Assembly session.

Also Read | Why are dairy farmers opposing quality index set by Sikkim Milk Union?

The Sikkim Chief Minister, responding to the issue raised in the Assembly by MLA DR Thapa, stated, “Every Sikkimese dairy farmer is receiving their milk prices and the incentives. If someone claims that the milk prices are not being given, I am ready to leave my chair. We have paid over Rs 16 crore in milk prices and incentives directly to the dairy farmers. Every three months, the cheque is transferred to the dairy farmers. A person with no knowledge of dairy farming, perhaps one without a cowshed at his home, should not be making claims. People should not follow them,” the CM said.

Despite the statement from the Chief Minister, the three dairy farmers on Monday submitted their memorandum to the Sikkim Milk Union Deputy General Manager at Karfectar, near Jorethang.

In a press statement, the three dairy farmers said, “We are Gwalas who actively pursue rearing of a cow & other farming activities in the rural areas of Namthang and other districts of Sikkim. We reiterate our demands to take the milk having fat below 3.5 & SNF 7.5 with the rate of Rs 40. We request you to kindly increase the rate of milk by Rs 5 per litre having 3.5 & SNF 7.5 and above.”

On the delay in payment every month in milk price and incentives, the three dairy farmers reiterated their demand. They stated, “Since various Gwalas are not receiving timely payment which has resulted in a great financial crunch to purchase various feeds, we request for the payment by the 5th of every month.”

During his legislative address, Sikkim Chief Minister took a jibe at the previous government on dairy farming. He stated, “In the previous government, milk rates were cheaper than the price of mineral water. We also are well aware of the adulteration that happens on quality by adding water to the milk. Hence, we increased the fat percentage and SNF. But the need for fat percentage and SNF as a quality index for the milk has existed since the day Milk Union came into existence. It is not a new thing.”

On the suggestion of Rs 60 per litre as the minimum milk rate as suggested by BJP MLA DR Thapa, Golay countered, “If we make the minimum milk rate at Rs. 60, there will be opposition from the customers. The high rate will automatically increase the milk prices per litre in the market. The customers must not be hampered by high prices.”

Also Read | Why 8,000+ applicants were rejected from filling govt vacancies in Sikkim?

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