Farmers in Chhattisgarh staged a unique protest against the Narendra Modi-led government’s demonetization move by giving away vegetables for free.
Scores of farmers of the Pragatisheel Kisan Sangh (Farmers’ Union) distributed vegetables for free in state capital Raipur as they were not finding any buyers for their produce.
“Vegetables are not being sold as the rates are very low. Vegetables sold for high prices in November and on lower rates in March, but this time the pattern was observed in November. We are not able to recover our expenses,” said a farmer, Arvind.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 abolished 500 and 1,000 rupee notes that accounted for 86% of cash in circulation.
The government’s sudden move has caused disruption to daily life.
India’s 263 million farmers mostly live in the cash economy, exposing them to the full impact of the move.
Jayesh Varu, a farmers’ union member said lack of transportation facilities further added to their woes.
“The farmers are forced to sell vegetables for free because if the prices of tomatoes fall, prices of other vegetables also decrease automatically. Also, transportation has been badly affected after the demonetization move. Earlier, tomatoes of Chhattisgarh were not only exported to other parts of India but to other nations as well. But this time, the vegetable could not be exported out of the state due to lack of transportation. Today, the farmers of Durg region and people from nearby the Kharun river were forced to distribute the vegetables for free,” said Varu.