Milk sachets, crates being stolen daily in Chennai: Dealers

By Balasubramani Muniyandi Published on Jul 26, 2018 03:20 PM IST

Chennai: Milk and crates theft have become a never-ending menace in the city, said Tamilnadu Milk Dealers Employees Welfare Association State president S A Ponnusamy. Even this morning, several crates were stolen using an autorickshaw outside a shop in Ramapuram, he said.

Ponnusamy told 'News Today' there was a time when people would not even steal water, salt and milk, but now everything has become soft targets. He added that 50,000 crates and close to 5,000 litres of milk have been stolen in the past four years in Chennai.

Despite several complaints, no action has been taken against these offenders, he said.

"We have installed CCTV cameras in several places. Last month, we gave complaint about a theft near Kodungaiyur with CCTV footage as solid evidence. This is the first milk theft case in the last five years to have an FIR registered. However, even after a month, there is no breakthrough. To make things worse, just a week after this incident, close to 1,000 litres of milk was stolen from six places at Thiruvottiyur. The thieves struck once again last week and stole 80 litres milk," he said.

He said despite being very cooperative with the police in all possible ways, there seems to be no end to the problem.

"Police said it was difficult to differentiate between vendors and thieves. To end this confusion, we have issued ID cards to members of the association," said Ponnusamy.

But, again, without understanding our difficulty, police always ask us to keep the crates and milk packets inside the shop, he said.

"This is not practically feasible: most companies deliver milk between 2 and 3 am. It is not possible for vendors to be present at the time as it will affect milk supply and their day-to-day life," he explained.

Ponnusamy further said most of the stolen milk is sold at half-rate to shops.

"Buyers should think before they purchase such products. What is disheartening is that students are also involved in these activities. The number of such incidents is more during weekends," he pointed out.

ADULTERATION ALLEGATION

Addressing another major issue related to milk vendors, Ponnusamy said sales of milk has gone down at least by 25 per cent after the adulteration allegation made by Minister Rajenthra Bhalaji.

"I am not saying that the milk industry is clean, but it is not as bad as what the Minister said. I have personally tested milk samples from several industries and they do not have any hydrogen peroxide, formalin, paint or varnish as alleged," asserted Ponnusamy.

He also suggested a possible solution and said a committee should be formed which can carry out raids against any dairy industry.

NO FAN PALABHISHEKAM

Another major cause for concern for the association is 'paal abishekam' performed by fans to cutouts of actors during a movie release. While many fans spend money and perform this, there are others who steal milk for this purpose.

"Fans will listen if their stars advise them in this matter, but the problem is that these celebrities are not interested in addressing the issue. Stars should understand that milk is an essential commodity that should not be wasted. We even raised this issue with the Nadigar Sangam," he said.