Kuttanad farmers face cash crunch

The season of paddy cultivation has begun in Upper Kuttanad and sowing of seeds is nearing completion. But farm workers in the paddy bowl have been severely affected by the cash crunch following demonetisation of high-value currency notes.

“We do not have money to meet our daily expenses as our savings are blocked in the Savings Account at the Peringara primary cooperative bank,’’ said Kunjunnoonny, an octogenarian farmer from Peringara. “Fortunately, the workers are cooperative and they understand the ground reality. I paid them half wages, and that too by arranging money from a few relatives and friends,” he said.

The state of affairs with most middle-class peasants in the Upper Kuttanad belt is similar. “But the question is how long can they pull on like this,” asks Pramod Elamon, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader from Peringara.

The uneasy calm at the otherwise busy primary cooperative society at Chathankary is a reflection of the fear that has gripped farmers about how to use their hard-earned money invested in the primary cooperative bank.

Sam Eapen, society president, told The Hindu that a major crisis is looming large over this paddy bowl. Farm workers used to borrow money from the village primary cooperative bank (society) to meet farming expenses. The Peringara service cooperative society had only two customers on Wednesday who wanted gold loans, he said.

Society secretaries Sosamma Thomas and Anitha V. told The Hindu that the society, with 4,500 members, had 2,141 SB account-holders. The total deposit it has received no fresh deposit in the post-demonetisation period.

Mr Eapen said the society had decided to distribute seeds and fertilizers to the farmers by arranging funds from various other sources. Mr .Eapen said paddy cultivation was progressing in not less than 5,000 acres in the Upper Kutanad belt of Pathanamthitta alone.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 11:38:17 AM |

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