Farmers in Madhya Pradesh's Vidisha queued up outside a bank through Wednesday night in order to withdraw money. The District Cooperative Bank had been closed for two weeks after a few staff members tested positive for coronavirus recently.
Farmers have been thronging the premises for cash withdrawal even before the bank reopened on Tuesday.
However, the bank decided to release only 150 tokens daily to customers to avoid crowding, thus, promoting farmers to queue up to get tokens.
Many of them were seen sleeping on the road with pieces of clothes laid out, as they waited for their turn. They had also placed stones on the ground to mark their spots in the long queue.
"They've been waiting since night for tokens to withdraw money; 150 tokens were distributed & rest of them will get them tomorrow," said the Tehsildar of Shamshabad area.
Many of those who spent the night on the road did not have money to buy diesel, seeds and pesticide. A few others were there to withdraw money for the wedding of their daughters.
Vinod Ahirwar, manager of the bank, said people are coming to withdraw money for hospitalization and other emergencies, and that they are being given money even without tokens.
On Monday, hundreds of farmers gathered in certain rural areas in Madhya Pradesh Ujjain without maintaining social distancing and other Covid protocols. Many were without masks outside the rural branches of District Central Co-operative Banks to get the money under a government scheme called Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Bank manager Mahendra Kumar Jatav admitted that hundreds of farmers came to get funds despite being told to maintain social distance. Funds were made available to them through a token system.
Madhya Pradesh added 1,977 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its infection tally to over 7.73 lakh. 7,828 people have died due to the virus in the state.