Operation Flood III in Maharashtra

DV Ghanekar
DV Ghanekar

NDDB 1974- 2009 and Kolhapur Milk Producers Union 2009 continuing

Names of three organisations (Polson, Amul and Aarey Milk Colony), two cities ( Bombay and Anand) , and three individuals (Shri Tribhuvandas Patel, Dr V Kurien and Shri DN Khurody) always find a place in any narrative on early history of dairy development in India.

Maharashtra and Gujarat were part of Bombay state till reorganisation of states on linguistic basis in 1960. Both the states are financially strong and relatively more industrialised compared to other states in India.

However, there has always been a competition on many aspects of human life and development between Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Dr. V. Kurien used to say that Amul could develop only because of the Bombay market.

Mr DN Khurody Dairy Commissioner of the erstwhile Bombay state, in late nineteen forties along with Shri Tribhuvandas Patel and Dr V Kurien received Ramon Magsasy Award for Community Leadership 1964.

While Mr. Khurody, founder of Aarey Milk Colony is known for promoting milk colony based development of dairying to meet city milk demand Shri Tribhuvandas Patel and Dr.V. Kurien set up Amul which promoted Anand Pattern of dairy development which laid emphasis on milk production in rural milk sheds for supply to urban areas.

The Bombay approach to dairy development and Anand Pattern of dairy development were not in sync with each other in some key areas. Over time these differences in approach led to opposition for the sake of opposition and resulted in delaying or stalling of Operation Flood projects by lower rungs of dairy development department inspite of a general agreement to go ahead at the highest levels.

However, even though the approach for dairy development did not succeeded, the dairy development department officials kept on insisting on following their own Maharashtra pattern. They would also oppose Operation Flood programme on every platform within the country.

Despite these problems, Dr. Kurien always wanted to help milk producers in Maharashtra. He was a great champion of poor milk producers all over India irrespective of the state they may belong.

Every time there were hurdles from dairy department officials, there were farmer leaders in Maharashtra who understood the sincere efforts made by Dr. Kurien and the advantages of ‘Anand Pattern’ for milk producers.

Shri. Aannasaheb Shinde – Minister of State for Agriculture – Govt. of India, and Shri Vasantdada Patil and Shri. Vasantrao Naik, both Chief Ministers of Government of Maharashtra, and many other senior leaders supported NDDB programmes. During the Operation Flood -I programme Shri. Vasantdada Patil and Shri. Vasantrao Naik stood firmly behind NDDB, and thus it became possible to set up Jalgaon Milk Union and Kolhapur Milk Union.

However, when the time came for extending the Operation Flood III programme to Maharashtra no such senior leader as those mentioned above was there to support NDDB.

Shri. Sudhakarrao Naik a nephew of Shri. Vasantrao Naik became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra during 1991-93 in Maharashtra. He was a staunch supporter of Dr. Kurien.

He called Dr. Madhavan, the Regional Director, NDDB, Mumbai and asked him what the Govt. of Maharashtra needs to do to get NDDB funds.

We briefed the Chief Minister about the necessity of signing an agreement with NDDB and the opposition that we were facing from the Maharashtra dairy development department officials for the same.

The Chief Minister called Shri. Asit kumar Tripathy, Secretary, ADF and asked him to commit date by which, the agreement between Government of Maharashtra and NDDB could be made ready for signing.

NDDB officers sat with Secretary, ADF and his colleagues and finalized the draft of OF II agreement by conducting several meetings and thrashed each and every point coming in the way of signing of the agreement.

Once the agreement was ready for signing, we approached Chief Minister Shri. Sudhakarrao Naik. He said he would sign the agreement only in the presence of Dr. Kurien. He immediately contacted Dr. Kurien on the telephone in front of us and talked with him.

It so happened that on the date proposed for signing the agreement, Dr. Kurien was scheduled to be in a meeting in Lucknow. The Chief Minister insisted that Dr. Kurien must come for the agreement signing ceremony. This meeting in Lucknow was also preplanned and could not be cancelled.

Therefore, the Chief Minister asked Dr. Kurien at what time he could fly from Lucknow to Mumbai on that day. Dr. Kurien said that he could fly from Lucknow to Mumbai on that day by a direct flight and would be able to reach by 8.30 p.m. in the evening.

The Chief Minister not only agreed but ordered that a special helicopter be put in service for travel of Dr Kurien from Bombay airport to RajBhavan at Malbar hill. This facility was normally availed only by the Chief Minister and the Governor. That how that day Dr. Kurien could reach Mumbai by 8.30 p.m. in the evening directly from Lucknow.

He reached Rajbhavan at Malabar hill and came to Varsha bunglow where Chief Ministers car was waiting for him. It was a grand ceremony, Dr. Ms. Amrita Patel, Managing Director of NDDB, and Shri. Asit Kumar Pripathy, Secretary ADF, Govt. of Maharashtra signed the agreement in the presence of Chief Minister, Maharashtra and Dr. Kurien.

The state where Dr. Kurien was vehemently opposed extension of Operation Flood -III gave him the honor of being a special guest of the Chief Minister at the signing in ceremony of Operation Flood III programme to Maharashtra.

I remember, the next day Dr. Madhavan carried the original copy of the agreement signed between Govt. of Maharashtra and NDDB officials to Shri Siddhivinayak temple, Dadar.

Dr. Madhavan kept the signed agreement before the idol of Lord Ganapati and prayed for the smooth implementation of OPeration Flood -III Programme.

This incidence is yet another example of commitment and perseverance of NDDB’s officials which enabled at an agreement with senior officials and political leadership in the Government of Maharashtra despite many hurdles put forth by dairy development department officials in Maharashtra.


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