How Amul Swung The Great Indian Milk Run? | India's Largest Dairy Company | Lack Of Dairy Products

Like millions of householders in India, Devender Sodhi, too, was glued to her television late evening on 24 March. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to unveil a COVID-19 crisis management plan. Barely six minutes into his speech, Modi announced a stringent 21-day lockdown to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. No one will be allowed to move out of their homes from midnight, the Prime Minister proclaimed. Panicky households rushed to grocery stores to stock up on essentials. Twenty-two minutes into his speech, Modi said essential services would be exempted from the lockdown, but many did not wait that long. Sodhi alerted her husband immediately after the speech. She wanted to stock up on milk, curd, butter, and cottage cheese. The husband took a brisk seven-minute walk to reach the nearest milk parlor, but by then the shelves were nearly empty. He picked up whatever little was left: two small packs of curd and a shashe of buttermilk.


Families across India went through a similar situation that night. The only difference is, the Sodhi's is no ordinary household. The husband, Rupinder Singh Sodhi, happens to be the managing director of Amul, a popular household brand and India’s largest dairy company with an annual turnover of ₹52,000 crores. On his way back, R.S. Sodhi thought, “If my own family is panicking what others must be going through." On reaching home, he quickly put out a video—shot by his wife on a mobile phone—assuring households that milk supplies will be normal. Being an essential food item, dairy products are exempted from the lockdown. Around the time Sodhi recorded the video message which was sent out to news channels and social media, a crowd was gathering outside a warehouse more than 3,000km away. For the residents of Lunglei, a small hill town in north-eastern India’s Mizoram state, 9 pm is well past midnight; shops usually down their shutters by six in the evening, but this wasn’t any other day. India enforced a stringent lockdown between 25 March and 7 June but there were no instances of the scarcity of dairy products or consumers being overcharged. In comparison, essential perishables like fruits and vegetables witnessed repeated fluctuations in prices and availability.





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