ROURKELA: After enduring the aftereffects of ban of high value currencies for 46 days, farmers and rural population in tribal-dominated Sundargarh district are waiting for cash flow to normalise as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While a sizeable number of farmers fully dependent on 44 Large and Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPSs) for financial needs are starving for cash, the condition of other rural segments of the district is no better amid inadequate banking facilities at fur-flung areas and cash withdrawal regulation.
After the Centre declared that the ` 500 and `1,000 were no longer legal, LAMPSs under Sundargarh District Central Cooperative Bank Ltd (SDCCBL) were restricted from operating saving accounts of member farmers. With each LAMPS ibeing treated as an individual account holder of SDCCBL, the latter is able to supply only `24,000 a week to each LAMPS.
To counter the problems of member farmers of LAMPSs, the SDCCBL through its 16 rural branches started opening their saving accounts. But, covering the vast district with 17 blocks is no easy task and farmers from far-flung areas having opened saving accounts and seeking cash are forced to travel long distances to SDCCBL branches.
Chief Executive Officer of SDCCBL AN Mohanty claimed they have opened about 4,000 saving accounts on a war-footing and 16,000 more are to be opened. After repeated interventions of the State Government they are getting adequate cash and hoped to improve the situation shortly.
Nabard sources said to reduce dependency on cash transactions five Financial Literacy Coordinators, banks and other agencies are creating awareness among rural masses to opt for electronic mode of transactions.
They, however, admitted that shedding cash habit is no easy task for illiterate and ignorant rural people.
Sundargarh Zilla Parishad (ZP) vice-president Saraswati Naik of Kuliposh village narrating her own ordeal said she visited a bank 25 km away to draw `10,000 for medical purpose. But, she was given only ` 5,000 and had to travel the distance next day for another `5,000.
General secretary, Bonai Krushak Sangh, Dambrudhar Kishan said problems do exist but the situation is not alarming for farmers or rural people.
Sundargarh Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia said, the administration is keeping regular watch on the situation and has not yet received any major complaint so far.