BENGALURU: Demonetisation has hit the 24 lakh milk producers across Karnataka hard. Ever since the note ban came into effect, they are reeling under cash shortage. While many of them are yet to get their payment from milk co-operative societies, others are finding it difficult to take time off to visit the banks situated in remote locations. They are normally paid weekly or once in a fortnight.
“Several societies are yet to pay the farmers in Mandya as the cash withdrawal limit is restricted to Rs 24,000 per week post-ban. Most of the societies have savings account,” said Kadaluru Ramakrishna, Chairman, Mandya Milk Manufacturers’ Union Ltd (MANMUL).
He told Express that Mandya, the largest milk producing district in the State, has 1,170 milk producers’ cooperative societies. Over 1.1 lakh dairy farmers supply close to 8 lakh litres of milk to them.
Prabhakar, Secretary to one of the milk co-operative societies in Ramanagara district said there are over 30,000 milk producers and 175 milk societies.
“Earlier, we used to pay the milk producers in cash every week or once in 15 days. We would withdraw money from the banks and distribute them among milk producers. But after the banks fixed the maximum withdrawal limit at Rs 24,000 week, we were left with no other option but to transfer money to their individual account,” he said.
“Nearest bank for us is seven kilometres away. There is no end to our woes ever since demonetisation came into effect,” said one of the milk producers.
The Gandavadi resident added: “The bank is at Jaalamangala, which is quite far from my house. The entire day goes waste if we go there to withdraw money. Huge queues are always seen there,”
“Also, certain payment dates are fixed for the societies. If we go there on any other day, we are sent back,” he said.
Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) Director, who looks into co-operative societies, Dr Suresh Babu said the societies started putting money directly to the farmers/producers’ account after demonetisation move.
“Farmers, however, have to spend a lot of time travelling to banks. They cannot afford to waste half of their day for just Rs 2,500. In some places of North Karnataka, farmers are travelling upto 20km to find banks or ATMs. We have written a letter to the Union Agriculture Ministry in this regard,” he said. He further added that there is no cash delivery system in most of the places.