The Centre’s demonetisation move has hit the farmers in MP’s Bundelkhand hard who were hoping for good rabi crops after facing four years of hardships owing to drought in the region.
Farming is the main occupation in the region, and heavy rains this year had brought smiles on the faces of farmers.
As the sowing for winter crops was almost complete in this part of the state before demonetisation was announced, the farmers had little problem in arranging seeds, fertiliser etc. But now they need money for fertiliser and to purchase PVC pipes and motor pumps to irrigate their crops.
With demonetisation affecting mandis too, many farmers are approaching local traders to sell their food grains, mainly soybean, which they harvested in the kharif season. They are borrowing money from local moneylenders too.
Mukesh Tiwari, a farmer of Sagar’s Dhana village, told Hindustan Times that he had to sell his soybean produce at Rs 2,400 per quintal to local traders while the rate in the mandi for soybean is Rs 3,100 per quintal.
There is a reason why farmers are choosing local traders over mandis to sell their produce despite getting a lower price. Mandis are paying cash up to Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 each to farmers while the rest of money goes to their bank accounts directly, or they are being paid through cheques. It’s much difficult a task to get money from banks.
Tiwari said another farmer helped him financially in the hour of crisis. “Only God knows when we will get the cheque and then money from the bank. I need the money right now,” he said.
A farmer in Sagar’s Rehli town, Sukhlal Patel, who has four-acre land was helped by his neighbour Mukesh Agnihotri for purchasing irrigation pipes and fertiliser worth Rs 7,000 on credit. “Demonetisation or no denometisation, suffering is a part of a farmer’s life,” rued Sukhlal.
Pachore villagers face daily hardships
Surrounded by agricultural fields, cash-strapped Pachore village, in Agar Malwa district, epitomises hardships rural inhabitants are facing post demonetisation, as people get ready to go to neighbouring towns since the village lacks ATMs.
The village, with a population of 1800, produces crops worth about Rs 1 crore. While focusing on the sowing season, many villagers could not exchange the now-defunct notes and fear that soon, there won’t be any Rs 100 or Rs 10 denomination banknote left with them for day-to-day expenditure. People from adjoining villages Chack and Abhay are facing the same crisis. “People in bigger cites have enough options and so, are blissfully unaware of the disastrous impact of demonetisation on rural India. Even the mainstream media isn’t bothered to show the real picture of rural India,” said Pachore village head Panna Bai, 58.
“We are not against the government’s initiative to curb corruption and flow of black money, but we are quite apprehensive about Government of India’s preparation and fulfilment of its stated goals,” said villager Ratanlal Bairagi, 65.
(With inputs from Milind R Lashkari and Pramod Carpenter)