Tribal Affairs Department has rolled out plan for establishment of Milk Villages, Milk Chilling Plants (MCP), Milk Product Processing and other facilities in tribal villages aimed at supporting milk production and supply chain besides providing sustainable employment opportunities to youth.“The project is aimed at providing employment to more than 1500 tribal youth and infrastructure creation under Phase-I which will be followed by expanded coverage to all districts”, maintained Secretary Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary while elaborating on this innovative initiative being launched in the UT. Dr Shahid informed that the six new Milk Villages approved under the UT CAPEX budget included 2 villages in Shopian, one each in Pulwama, Rajouri, Ganderbal and Poonch. These villages have been allocated Rs 80.00 Lakh each for livestock up gradation, machinery, equipment and market linkages. The villages being funded under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for tribal welfare included 8 villages, one each in Rajouri, Anantnag, Poonch, Jammu, Shopian, Reasi, Kupwara and Budgam, with a cost of Rs 80.00 Lakh per village, he added. He said that an amount of Rs 90 Lakh has also been earmarked for Snagerwani in Pulwama and Argi in Rajouri for completion of earlier sanctioned projects.
Likewise, two Milk Chilling Plants to be established at a cost of Rs 100.00 Lakh have also been sanctioned for Shopian and Ganderbal. The department has also initiated the process for identification of villages with potential of milk supply chain for providing skilling, livestock product management, supply chain infrastructure and other facilities. Potential areas in districts like Udhampur, Samba, Kathua, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora with significant tribal population are being mapped for establishment of Milk Villages in a phased manner. Separate outlay has also been earmarked for skill development and market linkages. The department is also providing research grant first time to the Tribal Research Institute for survey, analysis, evaluation, DPR formulation, skilling and other aspects for focused planning in livestock husbandry sector among others. The process of selection of potential milk villages by district administration with inputs from Animal Husbandry Department and representatives of local self-government will consider production and processing potential. The villages having maximum potential will be selected in phase-I and a waiting list of villages shall be maintained for subsequent coverage. Pertinently, all the Milk Villages approved by the Tribal Affairs Department are being established with 100% government funding meanwhile the department is actively coordinating with banks and financial institutions for establishment of 100 Milk Villages and Chilling Plants with Public-Private Partnership wherein scheme upfront subsidy and interest subvention is being explored.