Karuna Patra: Scripting the new episode of life through dairy cooperative
Like most other natives of Kayabaid village of Indpur Block in Bankura district, West Bengal , Karuna Patra was struggling for her survival, dealing with difficulties and obstacles as best as she could, but the economics of her family appeared to be in an irretrievable state. She could see no way out of the mounting difficulties that surrounded her. Life was becoming increasingly thorny to make the two ends meet and feed the family of five members.
Karun Patra’s husband was an Agricultural labourer, but income from agriculture was too less to provide quality education to their children. With a hope for additional income they started rearing cows. However, to add insult to injury, the dairy network of the village was under the clutch of few local milk vendors and invariably they were forced to sell milk to those private vendors with no assured return.
When 12 February, 2014 Kangsaboti Milk Union opened a Dairy Cooperative Society (DCS) under NDP-I in Kayabaid village, Karuna Patra decided to join the village dairy cooperative with a hope to get steady regular payment. The first day of Kayabaid Milk Producers Cooperative society started with only 3 litres of milk and Karuna Patra was the only pouring member of the DCS. Then she started organizing other milk producers of the village with a determination to keep the village DCS running. She left no stone unturned to persuade other milk producers of the village. She believed that village DCS is the only way to combat the exploitation of the private vendors. Though at that point of time around Rs 2000/-was due from the previous private vendor, Karuna Patra worked hard to organize member for village DCS.
However, effort made by Karuna Patra was proved to be successful. Kayabaid DCS is procuring 60 ltrs of milk today from 40 members. Out of 40 members 20 members are women. Karuna Patra is able to provide quality education to her children and paying Rs. 1000/- on account of tuition fees for his son studying at Vth standard & daughter studying in VIIth standard, with the income earned from milk. At present no private vendor is operating in this village.
Karuna Patra is the glaring example of rural leadership that stands as a vehicle in Kayabaid village to upgrade the quality of life of individuals, families and society at large through milk cooperative.