HYDERABAD: “I am requesting you with folded hands, please extricate me from this difficult situation,” this was the earnest plea by agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy to bankers about farm loan disbursals.
“As against the target of `18,000 crores, the bankers disbursed only `6,000 crores till date. The lending period will close by September. But, how will you meet the target,” Srinivas Reddy wondered.
Srinivas Reddy, took the bankers to task on various issues and made this appeal at the quarterly meeting of State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) held at Secretariat on Friday. “I want you not to ‘harass’ farmers by demanding payment of interest and farm loan dues, waived by the state government,’’ he said.
Srinivas Reddy found fault with bankers for not following the decisions taken at the earlier SLBC meetings on three counts.
First, the bankers were collecting 4 per cent interest from farmers on agriculture loans, though the state government was paying the interest.
Second, bankers were demanding crop loan dues from farmers even as the State gave an undertaking that it would repay the crop loans in four instalments.
Third, the bankers did not reach their lending target.
“You are harassing farmers and collecting loan amounts waived by the government. The government paid two instalments of crop loan dues.
But, bankers of some branches were harassing farmers and collecting the remaining amount by demanding the farmers to pay through their nose,” the angry minister said.
He pointed out that some branches of SBH, the lead bank, Andhra Bank, SBI, UBI were collecting these amounts.
Speaking to reporters after the SLBC meeting, Finance Minister E Rajender said that several farmers resorted to irregularities in obtaining the crop loans.
The TJAC, meanwhile, demanded that the government pay an ex-gratia of `5 lakh to families of farmers who had committed suicide. TJAC chairman Prof Kodandaram, while speaking at a dharna held in Medak, asked the government to implement loan waiver scheme and sanction new loans.
Kodandaram also advised the government not to go unilaterally on the irrigation projects re-design issue.