ROURKELA: Farmers, who are dependent on three-tier cooperative structure in Sundargarh district, are reeling under the impact of demonetisation during the ongoing rabi season.
About 60 per cent agriculture loans are disbursed by 16 rural branches of Sundargarh District Central Cooperative Bank Ltd (SDCCBL) through 44 LAMPSs (Large And Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies). However, cash supply to the SDCCBL has been curbed drastically, while the LMAPSs are banned from rendering banking services, adding to the woes of the farmers.
Sources said 190 of the total 260 gram panchayats (GPs) in the district are considered unbanked areas with the district having 104 rural branches of scheduled banks, 35 sub-post offices and 16 branches of SDCCBL for a rural population of 14.70 lakh. Of the total agriculture loan disbursement of `265.08 crore last year, SDCCBL’s share was `154.19 crore. From November 14, SDCCBL stopped dealing in demonetised currencies of `500 and `1,000 and it is not getting enough cash liquidity from seven attached currency chests. As a result, it fails to meet cash needs of 44 LAMPSs.
According to the three-tier cooperative structure, the Odisha State Cooperative Bank Ltd sources funds from Nabard and refinances specified amount to SDCCBL, which in turn provides agriculture loans to farmers through the LAMPSs. However, the LAMPSs __ which are directly connected to the farmers at even remote pockets __ play many roles, including delivery of normal banking services to them against saving accounts.
So, how are the farmers affected? Whatever deposits the LAMPSs receive, go to the SDCCBL within 24 hours. Now, member farmers having saving accounts with LAMPSs are unable to withdraw adequate cash with RBI’s instruction forcing the SDCCBL to treat each LAMPS as individual account holder and pay Rs 24,000 in a week. The district has 3.12 lakh Kisaan Credit Card holders of which 2.17 lakh are ‘indebted farmers’ and 1.08 lakh are ‘borrowing farmers’. The number of ‘borrowing farmers’ may rise by another 92,000.
SDCCBL sources said the SBI chest is providing negligible amount and bulk of the cash need is met by withdrawal through SDCCBL’s credit account in IDBI Bank. Paddy procurement has started and the SDCCBL would daily need above `2 crore. The RBI has assured that the cash supply will improve in a few days, they said.
SDCCBL Chief Executive Officer AN Mohanty said requisition for `2.5 crore would be sent on Monday and the SDCCBL is opening saving accounts of all member farmers of 44 LAMPS.