KALPETTA: Debt-ridden farmers in Wayanad will intensify protests against the move by various financial institutions to start revenue recovery procedures of loans taken by them. Farmers, under the aegis of various organisations, will launch a series of agitations seeking the government’s intervention in the issue.
On March 10, a section of farmers, under the aegis of the National People’s Protection Forum, along with their family members will stage a dharna in front of the district collectorate. According to Gafoor Venniyode, National People’s Protection Forum, farmers are already under severe financial crisis following the Covid spread.
“Fall in price of agricultural products and heavy farm loss due to repeated natural calamities have also affected the farmers in the district,” he said and added that it was surprising that banks, including the state government-run Kerala Bank have issued revenue recovery notices, invoking SARFAESI Act to 4,400 farmers immediately after the moratorium announced by the state government on farmers loans ended on December 31. Revenue recovery proceedings have begun against 2,000 farmers.
“Our protests will enter the second phase on Thursday. We will strengthen our stir if the government does not heed to our demands,” he said. The forum had previously conducted a protest march to the Kalpetta branch of Canara bank. On Monday, the Kishan Sabha and AITUC will also stage a protest march in front of the bank.
The District Congress Committee (DCC) will launch the third phase of its protests in front of the Kalpetta post office. The workers will also send 10,000 letters to the prime minister and chief minister as part of the protests.
According to Gafoor, over 11, 600 farmers are under loan recovery threat. The drastic decline in yield of coffee, pepper, rubber, and areca nut owing to climate change has also put the farmers in a fix. The farmer organisations said the government should allocate Rs 1,000 crore from the Rs 7,000 crore Wayanad package announced by the chief minister. Meanwhile, the district administration, in association with Canara Bank, is conducting adalats at the taluk level to address the issue.
The first sitting was held at SKMJ Jubilee Hall at Kalpetta on March 3. As many as 288 persons had attended the sitting while a total of 171 cases have been settled so far. Similar adalats will be conducted at Pulpally grama panchayat auditorium on March 7 and March 8. The adalat at Sulthan Bathery Municipal Town Hall will be held on March 10 and March 11 while the adalat at St George Sunday School auditorium at Manathavady will be held on March 10.
Government will intervene in farmers’ issues: Agri Minister
KALPETTA: Minister for Agriculture P Prasad on Saturday urged financial institutions to end revenue recovery proceedings and take a humanitarian stand towards farmers who are already in severe financial crisis. The minister said that the state government will seriously intervene in the issue immediately and the agricultural department is taking all steps to bring the issue before the authorities. He further said that it is necessary to make timely changes in laws including SARFAESI Act.