Ahmedabad: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has barred the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) in Gujarat from accepting or exchanging defunct currency notes from people.
The central bank on Sunday issued a circular to the Gujarat-based DCCBs, asking them not to accept and exchange the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
However, the RBI has not specified the reason behind the move.
Currently, there are 18 DCCBs with hundreds of branches across the state. Following RBI's instructions to the DCCBs, some leaders in the co-operative sector have expressed their displeasure and warned of an agitation.
BJP leader Dilip Sanghani, who is the chairman of National Federation of State Cooperative Banks (NAF-SCOB), said, "Yesterday, Gujarat office of RBI sent an email to all the DCCBs in the state and instructed them not to exchange or deposit old notes. Due to this sudden decision, farmers, farm laborers and villagers are facing severe cash crunch."
"I had a telephonic talk with Union Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar yesterday in this regard. He assured to intervene in this matter," he said.
Meanwhile, the RBI today issued a statement, in which it said that the DCCBs can, however, allow their existing customers to withdraw money from their accounts up to Rs 24,000 per week up to 24 November.
Opposing RBI's decision, cooperative sector leader Virji Thumar, who serves as the director of Kheti Bank, today warned of launching a mass agitation if the "restrictions" on DCCBs were not lifted.
"After the sudden demonetisation move, old currency notes were being accepted at the DCCBs. Now, RBI has suddenly put a ban on it. It shows that this government is anti-farmer. I appeal Sanghani, who is very close to PM, to do something, or else farmers across the state would start a mass agitation," Thumar said.
Meanwhile, senior cabinet minister in Gujarat, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama has assured to sort out the issue.
"Yesterday, Chief Secretary J N Singh held a meeting with top brass of RBI here on this issue. We are confident that an amicable solution will be found," he said.
Meanwhile, in comparison to the long and serpentine queues seen outside the banks, ATMs and post offices over the past few days, the rush of people to withdraw or exchange money was less on Monday.