The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Milk outlets at rail stations

Some mishti doi to while away the time till the train arrives on the platform' Or perhaps some butter for the bread you’re carrying on the journey' Ghee and paneer, too, to take home'

This is what the West Bengal Milk Federation (WBMF) is planning for travellers journeying from Howrah and Sealdah. With a view to marketing milk and milk products of the state among railway passengers, the WBMF wants to open outlets at the two stations.

Animal resources development minister Anisur Rahaman has written to railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, urging him to allow the milk federation to open the stalls. Rahaman is also the chairman of the federation.

“Talks were also held with senior railway officials,” Rahaman said on Sunday. A senior official of the animal resources development department hoped “something positive” would emerge shortly.

The WBMF is the apex body of village-level milk co-operatives and 14 milk unions at the district level.

Though the state government doesn’t control the federation directly, it procures and sells milk and milk products produced by the unions and the co-operatives.

One crore litres of milk are produced in the state every day. The federation procures five lakh litres from the producers and markets them under the brand name Ben’s. Annually, the state produces 3.7 metric tonnes of milk.

“Since railway stations are transit points, these can be the perfect place to reach out to a large number of people. Also, since people from both the city and districts converge at the Howrah and Sealdah stations, we will get the opportunity to serve a wide range of clientele,” the animal resources department official added.

If the project works out, the stalls will store milk and milk products of all brands linked to the WBMF, including Mother Dairy and Metro Dairy.

The minister as well as his officials stressed that selling milk and milk products through stations outlets is just a beginning. “At a later stage, we may even sell meat of quail, rabbits and turkey from these outlets. Of course, we have to get the railways’ consent for that,” minister Rahaman said.

“The government has been toying with the idea of selling meat, along with milk and milk products, from the Sealdah and Howrah outlets if they eventually come up and are run successfully. We are wondering how people would react to the plan. However, this could be worked out at a later stage. What we are now looking forward to is to get the initial sanction, which is expected to give a boost to the sale of milk and milk products in the state,” an official at Writers’ Buildings said.

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