State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari – who has been involved with cooperation movements for several years – said that he, along with people involved in the cooperative sector, would approach President Pranab Mukherjee to protest against the Centre’s policy of restricting cooperative banks to deal with the demonetised notes.
Adhikari was speaking at a meeting of cooperation workers at Rani Rashmoni Avenue on Friday afternoon. The meeting was also attended by state Cooperation minister Arup Roy.
“We are waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court in connection with the demonetisation issue. Maharastra has already moved the Court in this connection and we would also do the same,” Adhikari said.
He also said: “If the panchayat is a part of the government, then cooperatives are also a part. Thus, one cannot discriminate against the cooperatives. Moreover, at present facilities including RTGS [Real-time gross settlement systems], NEFT [National Electronic Funds Transfer], ATM and core banking are all available in co-operative banks. If the Reserve Bank of India can give permission for those, why are cooperative banks restricted from dealing with demonetised notes?”
“If the Chief Minister gives us permission, we can also hold a rally in Brigade Parade Ground where people involved in cooperative sector will be attending. We can also do it to raise protest against the anti-poor and anti-farmers policy of the Centre,” Adhikari added.
The minister further said: “The verdict of the Supreme Court in connection with Singur land has proved that what Bengal thinks today, the entire country thinks tomorrow. I would like to say that the Chief Minister had raised her voice first against the hasty and arbitrary decision of demonetisation of notes. The movement will prove the same again.”
Meanwhile, Arup Roy said: “The situation became worse in rural Bengal after the Centre restricted cooperative banks from dealing in demonetised notes. Farmers are not getting money. So, they cannot harvest paddy. At the same time, there are around 76,000 teachers who get their salary through cooperative banks. Every month, there is need for Rs 150 crores to clear the salaries of teachers. Till date, only Rs 35 crore has being received by the cooperative banks to clear the teachers’ salaries.”