Hundreds of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) members took out a motorbike rally in Surat on Sunday, calling for the resolution of people’s problems after demonetisation. The bike rally was led by PAAS Surat convenor Alpesh Katheriya, who made his first public appearance since he went underground after the police declared him wanted in last year’s sedition cases.
The rally began from Sarthana area and converged at the district collector’s office. PAAS members later handed over a memorandum to Surat district collector M S Patel, demanding an end to the problems faced by common people due to demonetisation. Katheriya was among the six members who met Surat District collector to hand over the memorandum. Surat PAAS co-convenor Dharmik Malaviya also participated in the rally, along with several other leaders.
Hordes of Patidar youths, wearing white caps that read “Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar”, passed through several Patidar-dominated areas, including Varachha, Kapodara and Punagam, where they were welcomed by the people. After crossing Surat Railway station, Ring Road, Majuragate and Athwagate areas, the rally later reached Athwalines area at the district collector’s office.
Strict police deployment was in place along the route. Traffic police personnel were deployed to control the traffic. When they met the collector, Surat PAAS team leaders apprised him of the fact that the people of Surat were facing difficulties in getting old notes deposited in the banks and also withdrawing cash from their bank accounts.
In the memorandum, PAAS leaders said that while demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was welcome by the PAAS, as it would help to dig out black money from those who have hoarded it, the common people were facing huge difficulties in depositing old notes and withdrawing new notes from the bank. While people have been queuing up outside banks, many ATMs were not working due to the shortage of cash. In the memorandum, PAAS team also gave certain suggestions. They suggested that the bank officials should increase the window and deposits of cash to save people’s time. Many ATMs were not in a position to dispense cash and bank officials should do something about it.
They argued that since the second academic session of college and school students had started, the schools and colleges have not been accepting old notes as fees. The District Education Officer should instruct the schools and colleges to accept the fees in old notes. The district administrative officials should direct them to accept old notes, the PAAS members said. The co-operative banks should accept old notes from farmers as it’d help farmers purchase seeds and urea for the upcoming cropping season. The RBI should give the permission to co-operative banks to accept demonetised notes from farmers.
Surat police sources refused to speak on Katheriya’s “wanted” status. Surat PAAS co-convenor Dharmik Malaviya said, “We hope that all our demands are met failing which we will carry out the protest, taking common people along, and the government would be responsible for that.”