The state Cooperation department apprised the Centre of the ordeal that the farmers in the state are facing due to its “harsh” decision of not allowing cooperative banks to exchange demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The agriculture sector of Bengal, like all other states, is completely dependent on the cooperative banks. Most farmers have their accounts in the nearby cooperative banks and the decision to restrict exchange of notes from the banks left the farmers in a difficult situation.
Arup Roy, the state Cooperation minister, said: “The situation has turned worse in the rural part of the state. The restriction imposed on the cooperative banks is not only causing harassment to farmers, but they are apprehending a huge loss if the situation don’t get normal soon.”
The farmers do not have money to buy seeds, fertilisers and other materials essential for farming. According to a state government official, farmers are now running to a bank situated miles away from their residences to get their money exchanged. The situation turned grimmer from Friday with Centre’s decision to cap the exchange value to Rs 2,000.
“Farmers approached the district authorities stating the bad situation they are passing through as crops may get damaged if they cannot spray fertilizers due to non-availability of lower denomination notes,” said an official adding that the team that has been formed to assess the loss in different sectors in the state due to sudden demonetisation of notes were being made aware of the present situation in the agriculture sector.
The farmers had also approached the retailers of fertilizers to get the goods essential for farming on credit or against the invalid Rs 500 notes and Rs 1,000 notes. But the retailers were not ready to sell any product either on credit or against the invalid notes. The reason being, that they are also having accounts in cooperative banks and they also have to bear the same pain to exchange the invalid notes.
It may be mentioned that some more states had raised their voice against the decision of restricting cooperative banks to exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.