Soon, Punekars may get `Any Time Milk` vending machines

Pune: ATMs of a different kind may soon be available for those having erratic work schedules in the IT hub of Pune in the form of `Any Time Milk` vending machines for a whole range of milk products, to be introduced for the first time in Maharashtra.

Conceived by a milk co-operative which supplies over one lakh litres of cow milk in the region, the pilot project of Pune Zilla Sahakari Doodh Utpadkak Sangh or Katraj Dairy is expected to take off within four months after completion of a feasibility survey, being conducted by a team of dairy experts visiting Gujarat where such machines are already operating.

"We have surveyed the system at Anand operating such ATMs in Gujarat and once our experimental run is successful in Pune, we will be replicating these vending machines at different points in the city, making available a whole range of our milk products at the push of a button and insertion of currency for the first time in Maharashtra," Rambhau Tule, Chairman of the Sangh, told PTI here.

The Sangh will have a target clientele of the working class including a large number of IT professionals who have erratic working hours, enabling them to buy fresh milk to suit their schedules.

Viability of the Katraj Dairy project is being assessed by a technical team of the Sangh which will study operations of a vending machine at Akluj in Solapur district which facilitates tetra packs of milk, Tule said.

"If our pilot project is successful it will be the first of its kind milk ATM in the state vending not just milk packets but also other products such as shrikhand, ghee, pedhas, ice-cream, cheese, paneeer etc. using cold storage technology," he added. "A consumer survey underway will also help us in identifying the spots for installing the machines as the traditional mindset of the consumer is to have milk home
delivered," Tule said.

He said the system will cut down on transportation and distribution network as well as cost that could result in a possible cut in the price of milk supplied through machines.

The Sangh, which completed 50 years last year, collects 1.60 lakh litres of cow milk every day from about 1,000 member cooperatives in the district and is considered a leading milk cooperative in Western Maharashtra.