HYDERABAD: Congress legislators staged a walkout from the Telangana Assembly on Monday accusing the government of lacking clarity over implementation of farm loan waiver and not ensuring timely fresh loans to needy farmers.
The issue of waiver of agriculture loans was raised by Bajireddy Goverdhan (TRS), G Chinna Reddy (Cong) and others who sought to know whether the government was contemplating waiving crop loans of Rs 1 lakh and below in the state.
The question dominated the entire question hour on the third day of the budget session. Agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy said crop loans worth Rs 17,000 crore had been waived so far, benefiting 36,31,908 farmers.
Goverdhan said banks were not issuing fresh loans though the government had cleared 25 pc of the Rs 1 lakh loan per farmer as promised. Chinna Reddy also pointed out that farmers were not getting fresh loans since previous crop loans had only been cleared partially. He said farmers’ gold loans too should be waived as promised.
Srinivas Rddy clarified that gold loans taken for crop loans only had been considered for waiver. Fresh loans to the tune of Rs 8,123 crore were issued as against the target of Rs 12,000 crore for Kharif season.
When TDP floor leader Errabelli Dayakar Rao raised the issue of SHG loan waiver by the government of Andhra Pradesh, legislative affairs minister T Harish Rao intervened and said DWCRA loan waiver was never a part of TRS election manifesto. “Though it had promised it, the AP Government did not keep it. The AP government has not waived even the farm loans as promised, leave alone DWCRA loans,” he said.
Intervening, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao clarified that waiver of long-term loans did not figure in TRS’ election manifesto. ‘’Ours is the first state in the country to waive crop loans to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore. Though we had sought rescheduling of crop loans, the RBI denied it.”
Rao claimed they had promised only crop loan waiver. “In the English version of the manifesto, it was clearly stated that it would be crop loan waiver. The Telugu version had a printing mistake,” he clarified.
When TDP’s A Revanth Reddy disputed his observation that the AP government had not even waived a single rupee of farmers’ loans but was only creating confusion, KCR snubbed him by asking him to detest from making a running commentary. “What is happening? What are you talking? Is it the way to behave in the House? Chup (keep silent),” he said, gesturing to Revanth Reddy to sit down.
Even as the miffed TDP MLAs rose and protested, the chief minister said he was not bothered about what was happening in the neighbouring state but as the issue was raised, he made the comment. He said his government would take necessary action if specific cases of non-cooperation from bankers in issuing fresh loans was brought to his notice.
When TDP’s Sandra Venkata Veeraiah said non-tribals who were cultivating tribal lands were not eligible for farm loans, the chief minister assured to look into the matter and asked the agriculture minister to get information on such loans in the Agency areas.
On Revanth Reddy’s suggestion that drought mandals be declared as such so that loans can be rescheduled, he said the government was working on it and the list of drought-affected mandals would be announced shortly.
Not content with the response of the government, the Congress legislators staged a walkout from the House.
As the first question itself took more than two hours, all the remaining questions were deemed to have been answered.