Gujarat: Massive farmers rally held against demonetisation

November 20, 2016

'thousands of farmers took out a protest rally in surat today against demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee currency. they brought paddy, pulses, sugarcane, vegetables, fruits and milk laden on over 150 tractors, 50 trucks and 100 trolleys. they are not getting money in legal currency for their produce as the reserve bank of india has disallowed the district cooperative banks to dispense with the new currency.'

Farmers from across South Gujarat today took out a massive rally in Surat to protest against the Reserve Bank of India’s move not to allow district cooperative banks to exchange demonetised currency.
Thousands of farmers from Surat, Tapi, Navsari and Valsad districts of South Gujarat entered the city of Surat carrying paddy, pulses, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables and cans of milk in over 150 tractors, 50 trucks and 100 trolleys threatening to dump their agriculture produce in front of the district collector’s office demanding the government pay them in valid currency notes.

The protesting farmers spilled several canister of milk on the main road alleging the cooperative dairies were not paying them cash in valid currency notes of 100 and lower denominations.

The protest, first in Gujarat by farmers since November 8 after the government demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, was organized by the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, a non-political body.

The rally began from Jehangirpura Cotton Ginning mill and culminated in front of the district collector’s office at Athwalines where a part of the agricultural products the farmers had brought was offloaded from the tractors and trucks as mark of protest.

In a memorandum submitted to the district collectors, the farmers demanded the RBI to allow district cooperative banks to exchange demonetised notes for valid currency notes just as nationalised and private banks are allowed.

The memorandum complained that farmers are unable to sell their produce in the agricultural marketing yards and cooperative dairies and even to traders because of the demonetisation.

The farmers also are unable to buy seeds and fertilizers because of the same reason. Over 200,000 farmers in the district of Surat have their accounts with various district cooperative banks.

Several political leaders, including from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too have raised their voice against the decision of not allowing cooperative banks to exchange notes. Some of them have been threatening massive agitation against this decision.

Gujarat has 18 district cooperative banks, with BJP having control over 12 of them. Even BJP President Amit Shah has been associated with Ahmedabad Distrcit Cooperative Bank for a long time.

Meanwhile, several Congress workers spilt milk on the roads at Anand, known as the milk capital of the country, in protest against the government’s decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.

As many as 30 Congress workers were also detained in Ahmedabad today as they tried to force their way into the RBI regional office after holding a protest rally.