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EVEN AS the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has maintained a studied silence over the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move, its farmers’ wing — Bharatiya Kisan Sangh — has written letters to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking urgent intervention in helping reduce the distress caused to farmers due to the move.
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Badrinarayan Chaudhari, general-secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, told The Indian Express, “We have written letters to the two, demanding allowance for transactions at district cooperative banks (DCBs) and credit cooperative societies (CCSs) on par with nationalised banks. Farmers need to buy seeds and fertilisers for the Rabi season but they are not able to do it due to demonetisation. CCSs do provide seeds and other inputs at many places. Allowing them to transact business would help the farmers.”
He further pointed out, “Prices of gram seeds have gone up substantially due to chana dal prices going up to Rs 14,000 per quintal. If the Food Corporation of India would have released the pulse in the market, this would not have happened. How are the farmers going to buy the seeds?”
Chaudhari, who hails from Rajasthan, said, “In Sirohi district of Rajasthan, about 25 lakh sacks of groundnut are lying unsold because the Rajasthan government hasn’t started buying it under the minimum support price like the neighbouring Gujarat government.”
The organisation’s Vidarbha Prant president Nana Akhare, said, “The farmer in Vidarbha has been rendered helpless due to currency shortage and unavailability of quick and nearby access to banks. The government has banned transactions in cooperative banks that have the maximum reach in rural areas. Farmers have just harvested soyabean and paddy and cotton has also started coming in. all transactions in rural areas happen in cash. Hence, the entire business has come to a standstill.”
He pointed out that demonetisation has also affected the orange farmers. Akhare said he has written a letter to the PM seeking, apart from other demands, an extension in the deadline for transaction of old currency notes for farmers up to March to facilitate them to receive Rs 50,000 per acre (dryland) and Rs 1 lakh per acre (irrigated) towards the produce sold to traders.