Demonetization: Tribal milk producers in Gujarat hit hard

Vadodara: RBI’s ban on district cooperative banks exchanging or depositing demonetized notes has hit tribal milk producers and farmers in Gujarat’s Chhotaudepur district.

They are not in a position to buy essential commodities for daily requirements from the market as they have stopped getting cash from their respective village-level milk cooperative societies.

Sangramsinh Rathwa, a director on the Board of Baroda Milk Dairy (Baroda Dairy Milk Producers Cooperative Society) said that he has asked the dairy’s chairman and managing director to take up the issue with the Centre and RBI so that the tribals can get their payment immediately.

Baroda Milk Dairy daily collects 2.5 lakh litres of milk from 450 village level milk producers cooperative societies in Chhotaudepur district which have total membership of 45,000 tribal milk producers and farmers, he said.

The dairy has already deposited Rs 14 crores into the accounts of these cooperative societies in three branches of the Baroda District Central Cooperative Bank in Chhotaudepur for making payment to their members, belonging to the poor tribals communities, he said.

However, the tribals who do not have their savings account in these bank branches are now not in a position to withdraw the amount, Rathwa said. Ranjitsinh Rathwa, another director of Baroda Milk Dairy, said the dairy pays these milk cooperative societies of Chhotaudepur on the 7th, 14th and 21st of every month.

Senior Congress leader Mohansinh Rathwa said, “I have sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ask RBI to direct Baroda District Central Cooperative Bank to ensure speedy payment to these poor tribals at the earliest as the situation has become grim.”

Naranbhai Rathwa, the former Union Minister of State for Railways in the earlier UPA government, who represented the tribal reserved seat of Chhotaudepur in Lok Sabha for four terms, also expressed concern over the issue. He said some of tribals under the below poverty line category do not have money to buy grains, groceries or seeds and fertilisers as no one is accepting the old currency notes.