The prevailing drought-like conditions in Uttar Pradesh have lent a sudden boost to the spurious milk market since the past fortnight.
The business of manufacturing and supplying synthetic milk and its products to city dwellers and even to the neighbouring states is getting bigger day by day.
The manufacturers are minting millions by endangering health and life of citizens as the racket continues to flourish despite a number of raids by the health officials.
The spurt in synthetic dairy products is being attributed to the drastic reduction in milk supply by the co-operative dairies and standalone dairymen owing to lack of animal fodder in the backdrop of poor monsoons this year.
According to Dairy Expert S K Vaishya, milk production in the villages has witnessed a fall of 40 per cent in last one month.
According to an estimate, at least 100,000 litres of synthetic milk and 30 tonnes of thickened milk (khoya) is being manufactured everyday in the city.
The racketeers use refined oil, white poster colours, some milk, caustic soda and formalin as solvent to manufacture the poisonous ‘milk’.
They also use low-quality refined oil, wheat flour, rice bran and chemical colours to lend an attractive look to the products.
Chief Medical Officer Subodh Tiwari said, “Last month, we arrested 17 people indulging in the illegal manufacture and imprisoned 12 of them. If another case is brought to our notice, we will take prompt action.” He added that artificial milk was extremely dangerous for health.
Parag Dairy Director Govind Srivastava said the dairies were trying their best to fulfill the market demand by preparing milk from stocked milk powder and fat but the demand seemed far from being fulfilled.
A little over 400,00 litres of milk is provided by the dairies in the city and 300,00 litres is provided by milkmen from adjoining areas of Kannauj, Auraiya, Kannauj, Bilhaur and Akbarpur, making the total supply at around 700,000 litres every day, 100,000 litres less than the everyday demand.
This gap is being recklessly fulfilled by racketeers who manufacture synthetic milk as it fetches an impressive profit margin of more than 200 per cent owing to its low production cost.
According to dairy specialist S K Vaishya, the short supply of milk is normally fulfilled by mixing it with water but the demand during festive season is so high that the milkmen resort to manufacturing synthetic milk.
Although the practice is prevalent in Sewan in Bihar, Azamgarh and Lucknow, the city remains a prime centre for adulteration.
Traders and agents from neighbouring states have put up their camps in markets of Shuklaganj, Barra, and Chakeri etc to tap the spurt in demand in their respective regions. The products are being made on order basis from distant places.
The products bought in bulk are transported by private vehicles through a well-established network of agents.