MYSURU: As the sun was hovering on top, a group of senior citizens were busy on the pavement of a shop at Udbur village in Mysuru taluk. They were least interested in watching TV even as the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy announced much anticipated loan waiver for farmers up to Rs two lakh in the budget.
When Express sought to know their opinion as the farmers especially small landholders were eagerly waiting for the benefit, some among them shot back in chorus, "forget loan waiver, who will give us loan? Whenever there is election, it is only a few who can reap the benefit for motives better known to them. The genuine farmers are either denied of loan or pestered till the repayment of the dues. There cannot be a permanent solution."
While another group of people who were watching budget on their cellphones at a hotel had a different take. Whatever benefits the government has announced, it can only fulfil the demands of the agrarian community to an extent. Barring a few who still rely on nationalised banks or cooperative societies for loan, majority of them are reeling under the debt taken from money-lenders.
The reason: The cumbersome documentation process at banks that eludes farmers from getting loans on time. There are instances of people pledging their land records as collateral with private financiers and instantly pocketing up to Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh, either for marriage expenses or education of their children.
Amid this, one must also not forget that a village like Udbur that is still known for betel leaves is already a victim of rapid urbanisation. Most of them have already lost their lands to realtors and have ended up as masons to eke out a living. For them, agriculture loan sounds contrasting, said another.
Another middle aged person slipped into a pensive mood when he learnt that only crop loan is waived as he had obtained a loan of Rs one lakh in the name of his mother for sinking borewell. He has failed to pay either interest or capital. Since then, multiple notices have been served by the bank authorities and he has not bothered to reply.
Raja Nayaka, who was busy harvesting the grain with a bunch of labourers said, "Once I had approached a bank seeking a loan to buy cattle. They did not oblige. The three acres of land on the main road is the only source of income. Though there is a demand to sell off the land at the rate of Rs 30 lakh per acre, I don't want to do so. However, the situation is getting far from worse nowadays, forcing the farming community to think twice before continuing with the traditional occupation."
D M Basavaraju of Doora village who has taken a loan of Rs 2. 8 lakh to cultivate sugarcane on his four acres land was unhappy to know that he cannot tap the benefit. It was at the fag end of fiscal year 2017- 18 he took loan from a bank near his village. While the government has announced the benefit only up to the year 2017 (2016-17 ).