His buffalo has been sick for the past three days, but farmer Ansar Patel of village Kushwada, which is about 85 km away from Indore, doesn’t have the mint-fresh currency to pay the veterinary doctor.
Like many farmers, Patel has not sold the soybean crop in the market as he is not too enthusiastic about getting paid by cheques.
“Doctor sahib does not agree to credit. Depending on the ailment, the bill could be anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 700 or even higher. I do not have Rs 100 or the new currency notes to spare but will have to borrow money if the buffalo’s condition doesn’t improve in a day or two,” Patel told HT.
Last week, the state government directed the mandi board secretary to ensure that farmers get paid by cheques so as to avoid their exploitation by traders and commission agents who were offering higher price to farmers willing to accept old currency notes. However, farmers unwilling to accept cheques are facing cash crunch as the government has kept the local cooperative banks out of the money exchange scheme.
Patel is worried as the buffalo has stopped giving milk and at 12-14 litres a day, it’s a big financial loss.
Farmer Sorabh Patel, whose son Firoz met with an accident while riding a motorcycle, said the private hospital in Dhar has refused Firoz’s admission as he could not arrange for new banknotes. “Inititally, I took him to the district government hospital which shifted him to a private hospital for treatment. I had to wait for two days to arrange for new currency notes,” he said.
Kushwada village sarpanch Phool Singh told HT that while the villagers were suffering hardships, most of them supported the union government’s move to withdraw the high-value banknotes.