Posted on 12 September 2012 by Ajay Jha
By Amrita Patel
Verghese Kurien came to Anand more than 60 years ago after completing his graduation in the US, intending to leave soon. But drawn by the power of an idea-milk producers cooperating to build a better life- he stayed. Today, after a lifetime of service that touched millions of lives, Kurien passed away in the small town he never left.
When Kurien arrived in Anand, there was a fledgling dairy cooperative born of the Independence movement. The cooperative’s chairman, Tribhuvandasbhai Patel’s skill in motivating people combined with Dr Kurien’s entrepreneurial qualities, helped transform the business into a model for dairying.
In 1964, then PM Lal Bahadur Shastri visited Anand and created the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to replicate the spirit of Anand throughout India and asked Kurien to be its first chairman . Kurien accepted on the condition that the headquarters remained in Anand.
Establishing some 1,50,000 cooperatives with about 15 million members, and leading India to become the world’s largest milk producer was no mean feat. He strode like a Titan across bureaucratic barriers at every stage of NDDB’s history. The ultimate tribute to Kurien would be to protect what he stood for. May his vision continue to guide us.
(Dr Amrita Patel is the chairperson of NDDB)
Posted on 26 March 2012 by Parasnath Chaudhary
The fight between Verghese Kurien and his protégé Dr. Amrita Patel is reappearing in new avatar. Readers could recollect those old days when Kurien fiercely opposed corporatization of dairy cooperative leading to parting of ways between the two stalwarts.
Today again NDDB controlled Mother Dairy is riding roughshod over the principle of fair business and cooperative principles to beat Amul and others. It buys milk from farmers cheap and sells dear while its Gujarat equivalent pays farmers a reasonable price.
Some analysts of the dairy scene have termed mother dairy’s business an activity obsessed with making money at all costs.
The mother dairy officials have said all charges being levelled against the Delhi dairy major are without foundation in facts. According to them, it is the middlemen who are fleecing milkmen.
Pressured by mother dairy’s runaway success, smaller dairy entities such as Paras and Gopaljee have begun selling their products at a cheaper price to ward off any threat to their existence. The impact of their efforts is rated doubtful as they lack the power of brands and reputation.
It bears a special mention that the dairy industry in the north is denied price support mechanism and this is mainly due to the fact that the dhudhiyas enjoy a strong political support in this part of the country.
Exhibiting their commitment to a fair business, some cooperatives in Haryana and Rajasthan reduced consumer prices when they paid less for procuring milk from farmers. Mother dairy has all along refused to act on this logic, though.
There are conjectures rife in the dairy circles that NDDB would soon pitch in to begin joint venture companies and cooperatives based on the latest ideas. However, observers take a poor view of whatever NDDB would do as its moves could only harm farmers and the cooperative movement.
Gujarat has scored a big success as its milk procurement recently jumped from 7 millon tonnes to a whopping 14 million tonnes. The achievement underscores the power of the cooperative sector in the state.
Posted on 14 June 2010 by Dipak Kumar
When the board of GCMMF wanted to remove Kurian way back in 2006, he was puzzled no end. He said that time that the board of directors opposing his chairmanship are the same people who had elected him unanimously, three months ago.
But then what happened in the intervening three months? Kurien who had wrestled with Indian bureaucracy and politicians all his life was not able to understand the new turn of events. But he was definitely smelling some grand design to upstage him? Who was it –an individual or a concentrated group of vested interest?
Kurian may have the answer but did not share. He only said , “I don’t know what consideration has prompted them (board directors) to adopt such a course of action. I could only think that the recent decision of board members is an orchestrated act involving people at a very high level.”
People at high level? Who is it? Today he must be laughing at the bank as the grand empire of white revolution which Kurien built is bleeding drop by drop. And that too before Kurien’s eyes! Unless the average cooperator wakes up and take note , his business,his movement and his legends like Kurien are going to vanish slowly, in course of times. The recent spat at Anand is just a curtain raiser!