By Dr Mukund Naware
In 1972 I joined NDDB and during 1974 I was posted at Jalgaon to lead the Spear Head Team. Our job was to organize Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCS) at village level and enrol them as members of the newly formed Jalgaon District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (JMU).
Initially these DCSs supplied milk to the Govt. Dairy and later milk was to be received at the Feeder Balancing Dairy(FBD) that was under construction. Under Operation Flood (OF) the Jalgoan Milk Union had received financial assistance to establish FBD along with two Milk Chilling Centers (MCC).
Under Action Item no.7 of OF there was a provision of Rs. 1.29 Crore to establish a Cattle Feed Plant of 100 MTPD capacity and also provide Animal Health Cover through Veterinary First Aid Centers at DCS level and Mobile Veterinary Clinics operated from JMU Head Quarter and MCCs.
Also there was provision to establish a Bull Centre and a Semen Processing Laboratory and all the DCSs were to have Artificial Insemination Centre (AIC) right in the village. The JMU was to receive financial assistance for all the Buildings & Machinery, Office Furniture, Laboratory and Veterinary equipment, Vehicles etc. apart from Veterinary Crates & First Aid boxes meant for DCSs.
In 1975 NDDB decided to initiate activities under Action Item for which Dr. AK Joseph, Project Executive was deputed to help JMU. He established a temporary training centre and started training Village Workers for AIC. Soon other arrangements were in place and the field AI activity actually started along with Veterinary First Aid.
As this program was progressing well. a peculiar situation developed for all of us. It started with Chairman JMU receiving an intimation to attend a meeting in Mantralaya, Mumbai convened by the Finance Minister to discuss a proposal made by Bhartiya Agro Industries Foundation ( BAIF) to allow them to implement Action Item no.7 in Jalgaon district.
The Finance Minister was Shri MD alias Balasaheb Chaudhari who hailed from Jalgaon district and very keen to develop the district in every possible way. Shri JT Mahajan, Chairman JMU was in a dilemma and afraid that the BAIF may take away the Action Item no.7 activity already started by JMU. He called me to discuss the matter and suggested that I accompany him to attend the meeting in Mumbai.
On this suggestion I explained to Shri Mahajan that just four years back I was working at junior level in BAIF and if I participate in the meeting perhaps Shri Manibhai Desai would not value my words.
Shri Mahajan then told me that I had to only accompany him and would not be required to open my mouth unless asked for. He further said that it is a common code in Mantralaya that even the Government officers do not speak unless they are asked to. Still to be on safer side I wrote to Dr. Chothani, Dy. Director (FO) about this meeting and he gave clearance that I should go to Mumbai along with Shri Mahajan. Before going there Shri Mahajan again called a meeting and invited Dr. Joseph to participate. In that session we arrived at three major points that could be raised in favor of JMU. With those points we went to Mumbai to attend the meeting on appointed day.
It was 4 pm sharp when Shri Manibhai Desai appeared in the chamber of Shri Balasaheb Chaudhari, the State Finance Minister. He was accompanied by Dr. MR Marathe. When meeting began Shri Manibhai Desai came to the point straightway suggesting that the BAIF was in a position to completely take over the Action Item no.7 meant for Jalgaon district with an outlay of Rs. 1.29 Crore. He said the BAIF can deliver the entire package and the funds could be given by IDC with consent from the JMU. On this Shri Mahajan said that with that kind of investment there would be creation of assets and the JMU would no like give up their ownership. (First point.)
Shri Choudhari however was not very much convinced and wanted JMU to avail the service of BAIF for cross breeding of cows which was very promising according to him. Shri Mahajan replied that Jalgaon district had buffaloes in large number and the JMU has already initiated the AI service for buffaloes and the same system can also be deployed for covering cows. Wheres, he said the BAIF offered the service for cows alone (Second point).
Shri Choudhari was still in favor of BAIF taking up crossbreeding of cows.
” But JT Sir, our State Policy is decided in favor of cows, why are you considering buffaloes ?” he asked Shri Mahajan.
That was rather funny argument. But Shri Mahajan replied with patience.
” Balasaheb, you may say so. But our farmers are keeping buffaloes for generations.
They are not going to give up buffalo farming even if we tell them. And any way they will continue to breed them. If such is the case then why not provide AI service to upgrade them ? ” he asked.
For answer to that argument Shri Chaudhari looked towards Shri Manibhai Desai. But the constraint was that they were not prepared to offer AI service for buffaloes.
To compensate that gap Shri Manibhai Desai raised the point of efficiency of service – be it limited to cows – but the BAIF’s overall commitment to cattle improvement is guaranteed, he said.
Shri Choudhari was aware that the BAIF had produced good results in Ahmadnagar district and therefore he made an appeal to Shri JT Mahajan to consider the BAIF proposal and give consent so that they take up the Action Item no.7 activity partially if not fully.
This would have meant BAIF taking up entire program except inseminations in buffaloes.
Efficiency of service thus emerged as the main point and Shri Choudhari desired that Shri JT Mahajan should consider it in favor of BAIF.
At this point Shri Mahajan opened his briefcase and produced a letter he had received from the Chairman, Indian Dairy Corporation.
The penultimate paragraph in that letter was highlighted by him. It read like this ..” In our considered view therefore the programs under Operation Flood are to be implemented by the Farmers’ Organizations themselves since they alone can be sensitive to the needs of the farmers..”
Shri Mahajan handed over that letter to Shri Choudhari inviting his attention to the last paragraph.
When he read that paragraph Shri Choudhari handed over the letter to Shri Manibhai Desai.
He read the letter and the look of his face changed. He gave that letter back to Shri Choudhari and rose from his chair to go out.
Both Shri Manibhai Desai and Dr. Marathe immediately left the chamber of the Minister as there was nothing more to discuss and the meeting ended abruptly.
In that meeting we succeeded in protecting the interest of JMU. But when I remember this incidence I often wonder what would have happened if some kind of arrangement had been arrived to work together between JMU and BAIF which was acceptable to IDC too !
Contributed by Dr Mukund Naware NDDB 1972 – 1986. He spent five years in field and was in RO Bangalore, for more than eight years. He was also Manager (Procurement) for F& V Project, Mother Dairy, Delhi during 1985-1986.