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The sales at the seed shop of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has started coming back on track following orders of the Union finance ministry that farmers can use scrapped Rs 500 notes to buy seeds. Even as 70% sowing of wheat for coming rabi season has already been completed, the farmers are still flocking PAU seed shop to buy these high yielding seeds with their Rs 500 notes. Since November 8, when PM Narendra Modi had announced demonetization, the sales at PAU seed shop, located at prime location on Ludhiana-Ferozepur National Highway outside the varsity campus, had dropped to average of Rs 40,000-50,000 per day.
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However, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the sales picked up again and varsity earned Rs 71,000 on Tuesday and Rs 1 lakh on Wednesday. Farmers are being asked to submit a photocopy of ID proof before their Rs 500 notes are accepted. Speaking to The Indian Express, Charanjit Singh, in-charge PAU seed shop, said, “The sales of Rs 50,000 a day is quite low in peak rabi sowing season. Since November 8, sales had lowered by almost 50%, but in the last two days, sales are improving. Farmers are coming with Rs 500 notes and buying wheat, barley, pulses and vegetables seeds. Wheat varieties PBW 725 and HD 2967 are still in great demand.” He said that before November 8, sales were being recorded at more than Rs 1 lakh per day on an average, which dropped by 50% after demonetization. In the last two days, sales have again touched the Rs 1 lakh mark.
Farmers from across state and even Haryana visit PAU seed shop to get seeds. Wheat variety HD 2967 is being sold for 30/kg and PBW 725 for 50/kg.
Sarabjit Singh, a farmer from Amritsar, said, “I have purchased vegetable seeds for my farm. They accepted Rs 500 notes with ID proof. I completely support the demonetization decision, but farmers should have been allowed to buy seeds from old notes from day one itself.”
Jagdeep Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib said, “Private seed shops are not taking old notes, so I came to PAU. Also, their seeds are better than private ones.” But some farmers said that decision had come too late. “I am already done with sowing and took seeds on credit from a private shop. We are not against demonetization, but farmers should have been facilitated earlier,” said Sriram.