STATES

Splitting of top milk dept roles: Politics or transparency?

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The State government on Monday appointed senior IAS officer G Prakash as the new Commissioner of Milk and Diary development. N Subbaiyan, the incumbent Managing Director of Aavin and Commissioner of Milk and Dairy development, will continue to remain as MD of Aavin. The milk commissioner was functioning as MD of Aavin since its inception as a three-tier cooperative entity in 1981.

The move assumes significance in view of cooperative polls planned over the next few months and increasing complaints of mismanagement in Aavin.  A few days ago a bill was passed in the Assembly reducing the tenure of board of directors of cooperative societies from five years to three.

“The list of milk cooperative societies whose tenure ends in three years is being prepared. The milk commissioner who is also the registrar of dairy co-operatives will make arrangements to hold polls for dairy cooperatives,” an official said.

Similarly, the post of chairman of TN Cooperative Milk Producers Federation has been vacant since 2018 and elections are expected soon. The post was last held by A Miller of the AIADMK between 2013 and 2018. The chairman is elected by office-bearers of 25 district cooperative milk producers unions in the state.

Barring Thoothukudi and Madurai district milk producers’ unions for which elections were not conducted since 2018, all other district chairman posts were occupied by members of the AIADMK. Milk producers and dealers welcomed the decision saying it would bring more transparency in the dairy sector.

MG Rajendran, general secretary, TN Milk Producers Welfare Association, said the milk commissioner will bring checks and balances in the functioning of Aavin.”  SA Ponnusamy, State president, Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Welfare Association, said decisions taken by Aavin will be scrutinized to prevent irregularities. 

The move may slow the progress of Aavin, said a retired official. “For example, tenders were invited recently for selling several tonnes of skimmed milk powder within days of approval by the pricing committee. But henceforth, Aavin had to send a proposal to the milk commissioner.”

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