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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Nandhinee ghee no longer for Thirupathi laddus !!

Living in Chennai ? – most likely that your day starts with filter coffee made with Aavin milk –  Nandhinee is akin to Aavin, in Karnataka. 

Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation Limited (KMF) is the Apex Body for the dairy co-operative movement  in Karnataka. It is touted to be  the second largest dairy co-operative amongst the dairy cooperatives in the country.  The Brand "Nandini" is the household name in Karnataka  for Pure and Fresh milk and milk products.  

From today (Aug 1,2023) – prices of  Nandini milk have  increased by Rs 3 per litre, according to Karnataka government sources. The decision came after a meeting between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, cooperation minister KN Rajanna, representatives from Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), district milk cooperatives, and senior officials on July 22.  It remains unclear whether the price increase will extend to other dairy products such as curds, milk powder, and others.

KMF had demanded an increase of Rs 5 per litre on the selling price in order to boost milk procurement. "The current milk procurement by KMF has declined from 94 lakh litres a day last year to 86 lakh litres. Dairy farmers have been opting for private firms over KMF due to the relatively lower prices offered. This has also led to distress among dairy farmers, who find milk production economically unviable. We are planning to transfer the additional Rs 3 per litre to the farmers," said a KMF official.

A few months ago, there was some controversy – what was a commercial rivalry was coloured as a political one.  Amul tweeted in Apr 2023 about its plans to launch its brand in Bengaluru and political parties in Karnataka whipped up regionalism ahead of the State elections, making it appear – ‘Amul-Nandini’ was, as Amul is from BJP state of Gujarat.  

At that time, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah even appealed to the Kannadigas to boycott the Amul brand. He tweeted, “In addition to language treason by the imposition of Hindi and land treason by trespassing within the state borders, now the BJP government is going to betray the farmers by shutting down Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), which is the livelihood of millions of dairy farming families in the country.”

Well, Congress came to power in Karnataka and is now facing massive criticism as the prices of Nandini milk went up, more so, as the State’s brand lost a multi-crore contract of supplying ghee to the famous Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam for preparing the most sought after ‘laddus’. 

The Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) on Sunday informed that it will not supply ghee to make the famous laddus given as 'prasad' at the renowned Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh. KMF Chairman Bheema Naik said Nandini is known for its quality, and it cannot compromise on the price and hence did not participate in the tender process as required by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the trust that manages the temple.

Everyone is entitled to talk about their products and decide on its pricing but what purpose is served in talking about what will happen ! – heavens will not fall, laddu sales will not diminish – it is Nandhinee who is the loser, not Thirumala, nor its devotees.

Following the price hike of Nandini milk products, the iconic Tirupati laddus will no longer be made using the ghee made by Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) run Nandini dairy, KMF president Bhima Nayak told the media.  “As we announced a hike in the milk price from August 1, the ghee prices will also go up. The TTD has found a new company that provides them ghee to make Tirupati laddus at a cheaper price. So, after many years, we had to stop the supply of Nandini ghee to TTD,” Hindustan Times reported Nayak as saying.

Another news report states that Tamil Nadu last week approved the increase in Nandini milk prices by Rs 3 per litre.“The milk (toned) that costs Rs 39 will be sold at Rs 42 per liter from August 1. Elsewhere, it is sold between Rs 54 and Rs 56 per litre. In Tamil Nadu the price is Rs 44 per litre,” Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said. Again why should a State approve the price, the pricing is that of individual seller, determined by various factors including the market competition.

Laddus would no longer be that sweet for KMF, the Karnataka Govt – but for sure, would remain as delicious and sweet for all devotees.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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