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Umakanti is a milk supplier and secretary of the Jai Ma Durgey Women Self-Help Group in her village of Banki, Hamirpur. Wikimediacommons

The story has shades of the 1976 Shyam Benegal film ‘Manthan’ that showcased women’s empowerment through the dairy sector. But in this story, there is no mentor — the women mentor themselves.Jaswanti Rajput is one of the 22,000 women who scripted the success story of Balinee — a milk producer company where all milk suppliers are women. Out of the nine-member board of directors of the company, seven, including the chairperson, are women milk suppliers.

Balinee is scripting a women’s empowerment story. Balinee, incidentally, means ‘a powerful woman’.The story of Jaswanti runs parallel to that of Balinee.In January 2019, when the company was formed, Jaswanti of Babina in Jhansi district, became a member milk supplier.

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Since then, every morning and evening, Jaswanti milks her milch cattle and walks to the nearby Balinee milk collection center carrying her milk pails (containers) to sell milk.Jaswanti says, “I had one cow then, now with the regular earning from milk sale, I have bought a buffalo and a cow. I will soon buy one more cow.”Balinee’s chief executive officer (CEO) Dr. O.P. Singh says, “We have paid Rs 61 crore till now to our women milk suppliers. The company’s net profit is nearly Rs 3 crore so far.”

Singh said, “Balinee is the only all-woman milk producer company in the state and is headquartered in Jhansi. The company was set up under the “dairy value chain development project” in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and is financially supported by the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and UP State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM) with the National Dairy Development Board Dairy Services as the technical support agency.”

In January 2019, when the company was formed, Jaswanti of Babina in Jhansi district, became a member milk supplier. Wikimedaicommons

He further explained, “The company has the objective of safeguarding the interests of member suppliers (exclusively women) by providing them round-the-year access to the organized market in a fair and transparent manner, timely payment, capacity building, and providing livestock support services to increase milk productivity.”

The company now has 22,000 milk supplier members across 521 villages of five districts of Bundelkhand — Jhansi, Jalaun, Banda, Hamirpur, and Chitrakoot. Its target is to have 36,000 members across 600 villages in all the seven Bundelkhand districts, including Lalitpur and Mahoba, by March 2022.

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Suniti, another dairy supplier, says, “I have supplied over 2,000 liters of milk to Balinee so far and earned over Rs 50,000.”Umakanti Pal, 31, who is one of the directors of the company, says that the company is now inching close to its target.

Umakanti is a milk supplier and secretary of the Jai Ma Durgey Women Self-Help Group in her village of Banki, Hamirpur.Balinee has a peak procurement of 85,000 liters per day. The company has 10 chilling plants in the region with a total capacity of 1.5 lakh liters per day.Balinee supplies milk to Mother Dairy in Etawah. (IANS/JC)



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