Sushil Chaudhary, a farmer from Duryai village in Bisrakh tehsil of Gautam Budh Nagar came to Ghaziabad on Wednesday to buy fertilizer, but he was denied the supply for trying to buy it with the scrapped ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.
“I have ploughed the land twice but there is no fertilizer. The season for sowing wheat is at its peak and we are losing time every day. A farmer will be ruined and left with no option but to commit suicide if seeds are not sown right away,” Chaudhary said.
Chaudhary, who owns nearly 50 bigha of land, is one among many such farmers.
“Traders at the markets are paying us in scrapped currency. If we don’t accept, they refuse to buy our produce. We don’t have enough time to deposit scrapped notes in banks and then stand in lines to withdraw cash. In this season, farmers should be in the fields,” Chaudhary said.
Another farmer, Mahesh Kumar from Sadarpur village in Ghaziabad, said that he sowed wheat on eight bigha of land without fertilizer.
“I could not purchase fertilizer with scrapped notes earlier and the eight bigha will hardly yield a produce. Somehow, I arranged ₹100 notes and bought fertilizer for the remaining seven bigha. I went to the bank but they said that there is no cash. I had to borrow from my friends and relatives to buy some fertilizer. If a similar situation persists for few more days, it would be devastating for wheat production across the belt,” he said.
He said that he sold his earlier produce of rice for ₹80,000 on November 5, three days prior to the demonetisation move. “I deposited the money in my bank but was not able to withdraw and meet needs for producing another crop of wheat. There are long queues outside banks but no cash available for us,” he said.
To support farmers, the government on November 21 allowed farmers to purchase seeds with ₹500 notes from centres, units and outlets of Central or state governments, public sector undertakings, national or state seeds corporations, Central or state agricultural universities, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), on producing identity proof.
This was in addition to the earlier decision to permit farmers to draw up to ₹25,000 per week from their KYC compliant accounts, subject to the normal loan limits and conditions.
“Farmers are still finding it hard to buy seeds and fertilizers. They are also not in a position to purchase daily needs. Some traders are arranging goods for them, which they can repay later. We have a withdrawal limit of ₹50,000 per week, but with this amount, we cannot pay every farmer. The limit should be raised,” Sudhir Goel, a trader at the market, said.
District magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani said directions from the government in this regard must be complied with to ensure farmers are not affected.
“Traders cannot pay them in scrapped currency. We will check the problems and ensure that the issues are resolved. We may also hold camps for farmers. On Wednesday, we sent cooperative officers to resolve farmers’ issues in rural areas and to look into the issues of around 1.5 lakh farmers who are part of samitis (committees),” she said.