On December 7, MiD DAY had reported that Madhukar Deorao Chavan and Gulabrao Deokar the two ministers responsible for dairy development in the state, have been for long receiving a consignment each containing five litres of milk, 15 bottles of lassi and 15 bottles of Energee. The two batches were being delivered to their doorstep from the Aarey dairy in Worli, free of cost (‘Want free milk daily? Become dairy minister’).
MiD DAY has learnt that the supply of milk from Aarey to both the bungalows where the ministers reside has been stopped since December 8. While the official claimed that the supply was only used for official meetings, sources revealed that even the ministers’ grandchildren and visitors would consume the products.
Earlier, Deokar had said that he would continue to receive the supply, even if he were asked for payment. However, no such supply is now being received, nor being paid for.
Deokar, who is in Nagpur to attend the Assembly sessions, said, “I am in a meeting and will speak to you later.”
Officials attached to Chavan confirmed that the supply of milk has been stopped at bungalows, even denying that they had been receiving free supply from Aarey other than for special meetings.
Asked why no records were kept for the supply either at the dairy or the bungalow, the officials did not reply.
Meanwhile, sources at Worli Dairy confirmed that they have been instructed by their superiors to stop the supply until further notice is given to them. “We do not make any more adjustments in the production to accommodate the free supply to ministers for which no records are maintained,” said the source.
Another source revealed that during the previous winter sessions, they would frequently get requests for supply from the ministers’ bungalows, even though most of the ministerial employees, including the minister would be in Nagpur. After many years, no such supply has been requested this year.
Shashishekhar Tinaikar, former general manager, Greater Mumbai Milk Scheme, said, “This is not a normal practice. If this is happening without payment, it is not correct, even to ministers. The rot starts at the top and then it goes out of control at the lower levels.”
D D Kulkarni, controller for milk transport who is holding additional charge of dairy development commissioner, said, “I am yet to make an inquiry into the matter, but I can say that the supply is done only when the meeting is conducted at the minister’s bungalow. There is no supply on other days.”