Directorate of Dairy Development
The Directorate of Dairy Development, under the aegis of Animal Resources Development Department, Govt. of West Bengal was primarily engaged in ensuring the availability of wholesome liquid milk to the people of West Bengal in various ways – enforcing the applicable statutory norms from time to time, regulating the flow of milk to sweet-meat shops, recombining of Skimmed Milk Powder and Butter Oil to meet the liquid milk demand etc.
The Urban Milk Supply Schemes in the Public Sector came up with two broad objectives –
i) to provide marketing facilities to the rural producers of milk for disposing of their marketable surplus and
ii) to supply pasteurized milk to the urban population at a reasonable price.
With these broad objectives a dairy plant was installed at Haringhata and the same started functioning in June, 1950. A scheme for the construction of milk colonies for colonisation of cattle was also introduced in the year 1954 and the first set of milk colonies was ready for occupation by cattle in the year 1957. The second dairy plant was set up at Belgachia, Calcutta, in the year 1962. A net work of Chilling Stations has also been gradually built up since 1952.
When the first dairy plant was set up at Haringhata in 1950-’51, it started with the production of 1.5 thousand litres bottled milk per day, whereas with the network of two dairy plants, seven milk colony units and 19 Milk Collection-cum-Chilling stations named as “Greater Calcutta Milk Supply Scheme” the production had gradually gone upto 210 thousand litres per day by 1980s. Besides the production of liquid milk, the GCMSS used to produce ghee as and when the surplus butter fat was available. GCMSS used to procure raw milk from the districts of 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Burdwan and Hooghly. The Govt. cattle farms at Kalyani-Haringhata complex contributed a substantial portion of this milk supply.
In order to increase the handling capacities of milk of the dairy plant at Belgachia (Central Dairy), a programme was undertaken for raising thelevel of production upto 3 lakh litres of processed milk a day in a phased manner, of 5000 litres per day increase every month, so that the total installed capacities of two dairies, i.e. Central Dairy and Haringhata Dairy taken together reach 3.5 lakh litres per day (3 lakh litres at Central Dairy and 50,000 litres at Haringhata Dairy). The milk supply was made to the consumers through 612 milk depots on the basis of milk cards. Hospitals and institutions were given direct supply.
The Greater Calcutta Milk Supply Scheme had provided direct employment to a very large number of staff and workers (including daily paid workers) of this State. Besides full-time employment, the GCMSS offered part-time employment to girl students to enable them defray their educational expenses. With the increase in output the number of Milk Booths had also increased proportionately and the part-time employment potentiality also increased.
A portion of the processed milk of Haringhata Dairy was also being sold to the consumers of Ranaghat & Krishnagar townships through the unemployed youth as a measure of providing them with partial employment.
The greatest achievement of the G.C.M.S.S. in its commendable role to check the selling price of milk of the metropolitan city to the maximum relief to the consumers particularly to the people belonging to the low-income group. Had there been no machinery in the Public Sector to supply milk to a vast number of consumers, the price of milk in the open market would have been further increased and the sufferings of the common people aggravated.
To meet the demand for fluid milk of the people of Durgapur, Ranigaunge and Asansol industrial complex, a dairy plant was set up & commissioned in October, 1972 at Durgapur, having an installed milk processing capacity of 50,000 litres per day and manufacture 1,200 litres ice-cream per day. To feed the dairy plant at Durgapur with fresh milk two Milk Collection-cum-Chilling Stations were initially set up at Bishnupur and Sonamukhi in the Bankura district. The Durgapur Milk Supply Scheme did not have own machinery for selling milk directly. Milk used to be sold to Agents and the agents supplied the milk to the consumers.
Two more dairies each of 20000 LPD capacity – one at Burdwan in 1982 and the other at Krishnagar in 1987 – to meet the requirements of Local hospitals, Institutions and common people.
With the implementation of Operation Flood Programme in West Bengal in the mid 1970s, the extension activities, procurement of milk and other farmer related activities on Dairy Development have been gradually taken over by the Co-operative Sector, i.e., West Bengal Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited (WBCMPFL).
The dairies of the Dairy Directorate, from then on, purchases raw milk from WBCMPFL to supply processed milk to hospitals, institutions and its esteemed customers including children, expectant mothers and elderly persons. In mid-70s, Mother Dairy, Dankuni with a milk processing capacity of 4 lakh litres per day was established to cater to the increasing demand of milk in the Kolkata and adjoining areas. Another feeder-cum-balancing dairy was set up at Matigara, Darjeeling during the early 70’s to meet the requirements of milk mainly to supply processed liquid milk to Siliguri township.
But with the passage of time, India becoming the world’s leading producer of milk – coupled with the change in economic policies, coming up of newer processing and packaging technologies, Interest of Private Investors in setting up modern dairies for venturing into dairy business, the relevance and significance of Govt. dairies in the supply of processed milk has diminished. Today there are about 20 different brands of market milk available in Kolkata market. The share of market milk of the Govt. dairies is not mention-worthy. Still, because of its historical importance, price control function in the market i.e; market intervention in Quality parameters (in conformity with FSSA Standards), Govt’s obligation etc., approx. 40,000 litres of processed milk in different varieties are being distributed everyday now.
So far except three chilling plants, all ten chilling plants have been handed over to the Milk Federation / Milk Unions on management andutilisation of assets basis. Similarly, the State Dairy, Krishnagar has also been handed over to West Bengal Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited for effective use on management and utilisation of assets basis. It is now being operated by Kishan Milk Union. The State Dairy at Burdwan is non-operational since 20th May, 2004. Efforts are on to obtain Govt. approval for handing over State Dairy, Burdwan to Mother Dairy, Kolkata for resuming its operation on management and utilization of assets basis. The production and distribution of milk at the State Dairy, Durgapur is kept suspended since second half of April 2012 due to administrative / unavoidable reasons.