‘Rs 2,500 cr from cooperative banks needed to give loans to farmers’
In a bid to avert a “disaster” in the agriculture sector of the state with the Rabi season ahead, there is a requirement of Rs 2,500 crore to give loans to farmers through co-operative banks.
The state co-operation department has urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take necessary steps to make valid notes of equal amount available in the banks.
It may be mentioned that on an immediate basis, it was essential to make Rs 400 crore available in the co-operative banks in the state.
However, only Rs 132 crore was disbursed to the co-operative banks.
Arup Roy, the state Co-operation minister, held a meeting with chairmen of urban co-operative banks on Friday to take a stock of the present situation. He said that till now the co-operative banks had received Rs 132 crore and it includes Friday’s disbursement of Rs 22 crore.
He said there will be a disaster due to demonetisation of notes. Condition of the co-operative banks is in poor state since they were restricted from taking Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The economy in the rural parts of the state has collapsed. Farmers cannot withdraw money. This comes at the time when there are no nationalised banks in many villages and people are totally dependable on co-operative banks.
An allegation had cropped up stating that a huge sum of money was deposited in a co-operative bank in Raiganj. Brushing aside the allegation, Roy said that there are 16,640 depositors there and Rs 58.24 crore was deposited.
Thus the average deposit stands at Rs 24,400. The figure says that nothing went wrong in Raiganj.
It may be mentioned that besides giving loan to farmers ahead of Rabi season, the cooperative banks also provide loans to Self Help Groups to the tune of Rs 600 crore every fiscal.
A total amount of Rs 500 crore is also given to farmers in every financial year to help them procure allied products necessary for farming. But at present, the most essential is Rs 2,500 crore to give crop loan to farmers.
Sources said that the Finance Ministry had directed the RBI, Kolkata to disburse as much as cash
possible for the cooperative banks. It was directed to give Rs 194 crore by November 26, Rs 194 crore by December 3 and 292 crore by December 10. But the top brass of RBI in Kolkata told that the disbursement would depend on the flow of money to them.