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HITTING OUT at the Reserve Bank of India for restraining district central cooperative banks from accepting and exchanging demonetised currency notes, Rajkot District Cooperative Bank chairman and BJP MP from Porbandar Vitthal Radadiya on Tuesday suggested the RBI should post its officers in the cooperative bank, but allow the bank to function in the larger interest of farmers.
“If the RBI has any doubts, it should post its officers and run the Rajkot Cooperative Bank. But harassment of farmers must end. We demand that district cooperative banks should be allowed to accept deposits and remittances at the earliest so that farmers’ anger can be assuaged,” Radadiya said at a press meet here on Tuesday.
Through a directive, the RBI had restrained district cooperative banks from accepting deposits in old Rs 500 and Rs1,000 currency notes or exchanging these notes.
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Responding to media reports that more than Rs 650 crore in old currency notes had been deposited in the Rajkot bank in the last four days, Radadiya said the actual figure was Rs 599 crore. “If the RBI or the government has any doubt, we are ready for a probe. We are also ready to transfer any black money deposited with us to the exchequer,” Radadiya further said.
The cooperative leader added that farmers had sold their cotton and groundnut produce. “This money is lying in their homes. It is obvious that farmers would have savings from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh. In such a scenario, if an account holder deposits Rs 25,000 each, it could translate into cumulative deposits worth Rs 500 crore,” a press release issued by Radadiya stated, adding that the bank had seven lakh depositors and that 2 lakh of them were farmers.
“The Rajkot cooperative bank has got only Rs 20.5 crore cash from other banks. We have 7 lakh customers. Against the cash that we have received, we have provided exchange facility for Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes worth only Rs 1.46 crore. When we have not given facility for exchange of even Rs 1.5 crore worth of notes, where is the question of crores having been cornered? This is the most direct evidence of no wrongdoing having taken place at Rajkot cooperative bank. This is a conspiracy to defame the bank,” said Radadiya.
The cooperative leader further said that he had made representation at the highest levels in the state and Central governments in this regard.
Chatur Tarpara, managing director of the Rajkot cooperative bank said the RBI was adopting double standards. “We have advanced Rs 1,820 crore to farmers. They have cash now on hand and want to repay. If they come to our branch for deposit, cash in their hand is perceived to be black money. But if they go to branch of some commercial bank with the same cash, it is perceived to be white money,” said Tarpara.
Tarpara added that they were mulling to move Gujarat High Court against the restrictive order of the RBI.
Hardik patel warns of major agitation
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel issued a statement Tuesday threatening an “ agitation” if the RBI did not lift restrictions on co-operative banks. “The BJP government should stop harassing farmers and lift this restriction on the co-operative banks, else there will be a major agitation over the next three days,” Junagadh PAAS convenor Ketan Patel quoted Hardik as saying.
Hardik separately circulated a video message on social media asking Patidars to join a rally on November 20 at Bhayavadar in Rajkot district to renew the quota demand.