Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Private companies supply poor quality milk: Parliamentary watchdog

A parliamentary committee on LGRD has alleged that private milk  companies supply low quality milk - sometimes mixed with harmful substances - in the market. 

It said that these private companies buy low-quality milk from local and foreign sources and mix it with harmful substances and sell it at a lower price than Milk Vita, a state-run milk supplier. 

The need for informing the public about this matter also came up in the meeting.

The state of milk supply from the private companies was discussed at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives held at Parliament building on Sunday.

The matter was also discussed in the previous meeting of the committee.

Meeting sources said ruling Awami League lawmaker Shah –E-Alam in the previous meeting said that private milk suppliers buy low-quality milk from the market at a lower price. 

“Low quality powdered milk is imported from abroad with 5 percent tax and mixed and sold in the market at a relatively lower price.”

In the meeting, Minister of State for Rural Development and Cooperatives Swapan Bhattacharya said that Milk Vita Products are 100% pure. 

“No chance for contamination here. But private milk supply companies are buying domestic and foreign low-quality milk at a low price and selling it at a comparatively low price.”

He also highlighted the need for proper quality control in this regard. 

He said that currently they are buying low quality milk by paying 5 percent tax from the other countries. 

The state minister proposed to impose 10-15 percent VAT on imported milk.

LGRD minister Tajul Islam said that the private milk supply companies are buying low quality milk at low prices and selling it in the market with contamination (adding harmful substances), which needs to be reported to the public.

The secretary of Rural Development and Cooperative Department said that Milkvita currently has the capacity to process 4 lakh litres of milk. 

Milk Vita collects milk at an average rate of Tk 50 per kg but farmers sell the milk in the open market and fetch Tk 70-90 per litres in some cases. 

“That's why there is a problem in getting milk from milkweed. Again, if milk is bought at a price of more than Tk 50, it will not be possible to reach the price of Tk100 per litre at the consumer level.”

It is learnt from the meeting insiders that Milkvita was also discussed in Sunday's meeting. 

Milkvita chairman Sheikh Nadir Hossain Lipu asked for Tk 100 crore as subsidy to increase the price of milk at the farm level. 

However, LGRD minister rejected the subsidy proposal. 

The minister mentioned that the government has now taken the initiative to reduce subsidies from all sectors. 

“New subsidy is not possible at this time. Later in the meeting, it was prescribed to popularize Milkvita.”

According to the press release of the Parliament Secretariat, in the meeting, it was recommended that Milkvita is presented more attractively to the people through promotion and advertisement.

In the meeting, it was recommended to speed up the ongoing activities of WASA, to take necessary measures to reach more people at a lower cost. It recommended issuing a circular to the ministry regarding the provision of barricades on the road as the road is damaged due to heavy traffic.

Parliamentary Standing Committee chairman Nurul Islam Nahid, members and local government, rural development and cooperatives minister Md Tajul Islam, state minister Swapan Bhattacharya, Razi Mohammad Fakhrul, Md Shahe Alam and Abdus Salam Murshedi were present.