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Furore in A'bad co-op bank over deposits in MMCB Sunday, September 23, 2001
AHMEDABAD: Trouble is brewing at the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank (ADCB) over the bank's investments for the revival the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd (MMCB).
Several members of co-operative societies from different parts of Ahmedabad district staged a hunger strike in front of the bank premises near the Income Tax circle here. The protesters were are demanding that the recently-concluded annual general meeting be convened afresh.
Alleging that the 5,159 member-co-operative societies was not intimated about the AGM on time, and did not get to voice their concerns in keeping with the norms. Co-operative society members threatened to take their fight to the streets by taking out a massive rally from Lal Darwaja to the bank headquarters situated near the Reserve Bank of India office in Ahmedabad.
The other more startling demand of the agitationists was voiced by a director of ADCB, Pradip Singh Chudasama, who joined the agitationists on Saturday. "The chairman of ADCB (Amit Shah) has promised to give Rs 100 crore to the MMCB at the rate of 7.5 per cent interest, to bail it out from the financial crisis. While one knows that this is being done to buy two positions on the MMCB board of directors, we question the very logic behind this decision involving public money," Chudasama told TNN.
He added: "We demand that the chairman give a similar loan with exactly the same rate of interest to the farming community that has suffered drought for years together. This agitation is intended to stop autocracy in a co-operative bank which largely deals with farmers' money. Though the bank is financially stable and has made a profit, one would not like it to go the MMCB way."
Jayantibhai Solanki, chairman of Suryakala Agarkha Utpada Sahkari Mandal of Bapunagar, who on Saturday completed the fifth day on hunger strike said: "There is definitely something fishy about the state of affairs in ADCB. The AGM held on September 18 got over within a very short duration. By the time we reached the Dinesh Hall on Tuesday, the meeting had passed four of the five proposals, and the meeting folded up as soon as the chairman declared a dividend of 10 per cent. We did not get to say a word."
Citing examples of "arbitrary" investments like one worth Rs 20 crore made by ADCB in Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (without consulting its co-operative body members) and failed-promises like partial crop insurance as against the promised 73 per cent, Chudasama said: "After 102 hours of hunger strike, there has been no effort from the ADCB chairman to resolve the issue, so I decided to join the agitation. By the end of this masses' movement, one hopes for transparency in the working of ADCB and its branches. This would be crucial for its financial buoyancy and not going the MMCB way."