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Cleansing Goa Dairy

Loyal consumers may lose trust in Goa Dairy if corruption continues 

GOA Dairy faces a serious threat of losing the trust of consumers with the disqualification of eight members of the board of directors of Goa State Co-operative Milk Producers Union by Registrar of Co-operative Societies Menino D’Souza. The disqualification followed after two inquiries established their involvement in massive irregularities in the management and administration of Goa Dairy. When eight directors are disqualified, that means an absence of the required quorum for the board of directors to be able to take any decision regarding the management and administration of Goa Dairy. As a consequence the Registrar has dissolved the board and appointed deputy director of animal husbandry Dr Vilas Naik as administrator. The two inquiries examined the records of Goa State Co-operative Milk Producers Union and to their dismay discovered a number of irregularities and illegal decisions taken by the eight directors which were detrimental to the interests of the society. The former managing director of Goa State Co-operative Milk Producers Union N C Sawant is currently under suspension. The Registrar must immediately start the process of fixing the responsibility of the eight directors and Sawant in massive corruption and irregularities.

This is the second time in less than a year that directors of Goa Dairy have been disqualified and an administrator appointed to oversee its functioning. On August 31, 2018, former registrar of co-operative societies Sanjiv Gadkar had disqualified seven directors after an inquiry report held them responsible for various discrepancies. The disqualified directors approached the High Court claiming they were not heard before action was taken against them and got relief in April 2019 when the court accepted their plea and directed that they be heard by the concerned authorities before any action was taken. Accordingly due process was followed by Registrar of Co-operative Societies Menino D’Souza and action was taken against them based on the due process. The disqualified directors together with the suspended managing director are alleged to have purchased fill-pack machines, ice-cream plant machinery and raw material for cattle feed plant at rates higher than prevalent market rates. They were also found involved in irregular recruitments. A separate probe would be held to determine exact losses to Goa Dairy before initiating further action against them.

Goa Dairy has been patronised by the people of the state and continues to have the major share of the market in the state. Its products have loyal customers and are purchased despite the fact that they are a bit costlier than those of other dairies. Had Goa Dairy been managed without corruption it would have increased its share, but people are forced to buy products of other dairies, be it milk or milk products. Its plans to diversify with a range of new products did not meet with desired success. The purchase of fill pack and ice cream plant machinery at higher prices added burdens to it. The newly-appointed administrator has said there was shortage of 25,000 litres in supply of milk per day. Goa Dairy has the potential to expand its market and supply products of quality.

But unfortunately Goa Dairy, the first dairy in the state, has been mismanaged. Certain forces have used it for self-aggrandisement. It has been characterised by mismanagement, favouritism and corruption. Today Goa Dairy faces a serious threat from other players, mainly from Amul, that has been growing by virtue of good management, effective strategies and earning the trust of dairy farmers and consumers alike. Political patronage of vested interests on its board of directors only pushed Goa Dairy deeper into mess. The government in general and the regulatory bodies in particular never took serious measures to cleanse Goa Dairy of corrupt elements. As a result the losses made by it went on mounting. Some of the directors treated Goa Dairy as personal property and acted as though they were above law. We hope the state government and the Registrar of Co-operative Societies initiates and completes the process of fixing the responsibility and subjecting the guilty to severe penal action. A co-operative society is supposed to work according to rules and principles and only in public interest. Whoever has used it for personal interest must pay for his sins.

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