Milk is an essential of life and feeds no difference! Coming out of mother’s feeding, milk has been the best source of nutrition for kids and also easily digestible, it treats everyone (with no age difference) being a special ingredient as beverage is open to varied flavours. For many, a day does not begin without coffee or tea and to make it possible milk is the prominent. Though they can be prepared using hot water, only milk seems to provide the real essence of taste. I also don’t drink coffee/tea without added to milk and we use about 1.5 litre of milk everyday at home to make drink and curd and to feed our dog Maya.
|A scene in front of AVM (pic: the hindu)|
Things being like that, the Aavin (the trademark of Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited, a Tamil Nadu-based milk producer’s union) have raised the price of milk up to 40 percent per litre which is ever so high in a single hike. It wouldn't have been a matter of huge difference if the price was increased step by step (which could be the right progress), but this couldn't be an easy task for people to follow with low income. Being a consumer of Aavin since late 90s (when we stopped getting raw milk from my grandfather's house as they themselves wasn't sufficient with milk for their tea shop, because of the reduction of bulls they reared, as their demand was also fulfilled by Aavin) we adapted to their quality and quantity which has been content so far and suppose to be hopefully. Though the hike doesn't seems to bother us much, will truly play a crucial role on low income families. Just because we are affordable, can’t accept such huge step that’s very difficult for others to come across and if the govt. itself makes such a leap, there won’t be wonder if Pvt. overtakes them.
The price has risen within weeks the Aavin stopped selling loose milk supplied through automatic vending machines (AVMs) in Aavin booths. But the reality was the AVMs aren’t in operation for long time and it’s only the staffs take the control of selling loose milk using measures. The change in the mode of supply is being done as a quality control measure as there have been complaints of adulteration of the milk sold through these machines. The organisation has chosen to do away with this mode which will cost them an additional ₹1.25 crore per annum. Introduced by Aavin in late 1970s, AVMs has been big hit among Chennaities as they provided an interesting experience, which I too enjoyed once, as I find it fun dropping coins into the AVMs (after making line to the Aavin booth to collect coins by paying at the counter) and fill our utensil with milk flow through a pipe. Each coin let us hold half a litre of milk which was their standard practice.
While back in Adyar, there’s an Aavin booth near our house and we usually visit the booth in afternoon and sometime wait in queue until the milk van come refilling the booth. Many of our neighbours also join the queue and sometime I accompany my aunt on behalf our family to buy milk. Mostly I like to go there to hold milk from the AVMs; even I can't drop the coin at that height since I wasn't even a teen then, but sometimes I have the chance to operate the automated machine if someone lifts me up. Locally called as Button Paal (milk), because of the size of the coin which used to drop into the AVM resembles the size of a button or 25 paisa coin, can be brought either through Milk Cards or instant paying according to our comfort. If milk has been in demand, a person could buy only a litre of milk from the booth, so sometime parents take us along with them to get additional coins or litres.
After shifted to neighbourhood area, dad took the task of buying milk completely since there isn’t an Aavin booth close to our house; so he used to buy milk while he drives back from office. He also stopped using utensil, as it is not possible while he was working he shifted to buy milk loosely in instant pack. We don’t buy packet or sachet milk unless we couldn’t able to visit the booth and now again back in Adyar and close to Aavin booth we had been buying milk loosely in utensil but now things come to an end hence Aavin stopped selling milk in loose and through AVMs from Oct 15. So we are quite depended on packet milk, but my only hope and wish was Aavin sustains the existing quality and quantity.