CHENNAI: It has been a double-whammy for dairy farmers in the State. After fall in prices of milk procurement by over 60 per cent, financial support announced by the Centre too is yet to reach them allegedly because of banks’ apathy.
On May 15, the Centre announced that 1.5 crore dairy farmers across the country will be issued Kisan Credit Card (KCC) under which they will be provided loans of up to Rs 3 lakh at subsidised interest rate. The farmers can avail loans up to Rs 1.6 lakh without producing any collateral support. As part of the scheme, the State too had targeted issuing of credit cards to seven lakh farmers, including four lakh milk producers, two lakh cattle and poultry farmers and one lakh fishermen.
While the Centre had set the deadline as July 31 for distribution of KCCs, dairy farmers have alleged that they have been made to run from pillar to post to get the loans. A few branches of nationalised banks in Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai and Kallakurichi districts have not accepted the applications, rue farmers.
“A veterinarian visited my house to examine the cows and signed my application for KCC. I submitted the application with a letter from the veterinarian at a bank near Villupuram for Rs 1.3 lakh, but was turned down after I said I don’t have property to pledge.
I was also told to get a ‘no due certificate’ from a nationalised or cooperative bank in my area,” said a dairy farmer. Dairy farmers have been reeling under financial crisis for the past three months after milk procurement price fell from Rs 32 to 15 a litre. The total milk production of the State had dropped by 60 per cent because of closure of hotels, tea shops and sweet stalls during lockdown. Dairy farmers in Salem and Erode districts have held frequent protests by pouring milk on roads.
K Gopal, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries said despite best efforts of officials, there have been delays in sanctioning of loans in few places and officials on the field are supporting the banks in filling the gaps. “Officials from Aavin, animal husbandry and fisheries are collecting filled out applications from beneficiaries.” Meanwhile, a banking body has rejected the allegations. SC Mohanta, convenor of State Level Bankers’ Committee, said, “We have not received any specific complaints regarding the denial of loans under KCC for dairy farmers. Officials have been alerting the banks through lead managers in districts about this issue and Collectors have been advised to have a coordination meeting with farmers. We are frequently reminding the banker’s committee at Chennai as well.”