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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dairy revived in Dima Hasao

Nagaon, Nov. 23: Feeling nostalgic for taste of curd, cream and ghee bought from the hilly belt in Dima Hasao district?

It is time to rediscover the flavour of the products.

The Dima Hasao District Autonomous Council revived its creamery and dairy units at Umrangsu on the Assam-Meghalaya border with the hope of taking alluring products to new heights of popularity.

Cream, curd and ghee are made of milk produced in 10 to 15 khutis located in different areas on the inter-state border. Khutis are farm-type structures where milkmen keep their cows. Milkmen also stay in these khutis.

The local autonomous council has spent Rs 40 lakh on reviving the sick units. After the infrastructure is completed, steps are taken to assist and train milkmen to go for quality products.

The chief executive member of the council, Debojeet Thausen, recently inaugurated a new dairy plant in Umrangsu.

The unit once known as dairy department’s creamery scheme, brought the milkmen of the inter-state bordering area under one umbrella. It was established in 1971 in old Garampani and later shifted to Umrangsu town.

“Initially, we collected milk and cream from farmers. These were processed in the old plant and finally packed for sale at our stalls. During festival sessions specially on the eve of Bhogali and Rongali Bihus, people from Upper Assam and lower Assam districts came to Umrangsu to collect our items,” dairy in- charge N.N. Das said.

According to him, 300kg ghee was produced in a month in 1990.

Three major issues — law and order trouble in the hill district, instability in functioning of council system and failure to reschedule price of raw materials and final products brought a gap between farmers and the units resulting in an end to ghee and cream production.

“The milkmen are basically from the Nepali community. The rise of the DHD (J) forced most of them to leave the bordering area. Some of them return and restart their khutis when law and order improved,” Das said.

Thausen announced that soon steps would be taken to streamline the network and milkmen would be backed with financial and infrastructure support to increase production.

“We have rescheduled the price now. Each kilogram of raw cream will be purchased from farmers at the rate of Rs 240. Processed ghee will be sold at Rs 430 a kg. Again, milk with 4 per cent fat and 8 per cent of solid not-fats will be purchased from milkmen at the rate of Rs 26.5 per litre. It would be packaged and later sold at the rate of Rs 30.

Earlier, the purchasing price of cream from farmers was Rs 120 a kg and rate of ghee was Rs 360 a kg.