In a bid to give respite to 45,000 people, the Mamata Banerjee government has taken steps to help reopen the decades old Ramkrishnapur Cooperative Bank that was closed due to the lackadaisical attitude of the erstwhile Left Front government.
The cooperative bank at Sanshyabazar in Howrah had started banking business in 1965. It had closed in 2010 after RBI “delivered the order rejecting its application for licence to the bank after the close of business on June 17, 2010”. The licence of the bank was rejected after inspections revealed “certain serious deficiencies” in the financial position of the bank and depositors were reeling under uncertainty. It was alleged that the failure to recover loan had led to the “poor” financial situation of the bank.
Arup Roy, the state co-operation minister, said the process to complete the audit of the bank till March 2016 is going on. Further steps for reopening of the bank would be taken after the audit report is prepared.
The “poor” situation of the bank came to light when “the statutory inspection of the bank with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2007 revealed certain serious deficiencies”. Since then, the RBI had taken several steps for revival of the bank. But it had not been possible for certain reasons.
A section of depositors had approached the Left Front government for its intervention to revive the condition of the bank. It has been alleged that hardly any steps were taken by the then government and finally failure to recover the loan amount let to the closure of the bank.
The step to complete the audit from 2011 till March 2016 has been taken up to assess the amount that has to be deposited to RBI to once again reopen the bank.
It is learnt that a meeting to discuss the steps need to be taken to reopen the bank held soon after the Trinamool Congress formed government for the second time. The state cooperation minister, RBI authorities and bank authorities were present in the meeting. Another meeting in the same connection took place around 10 days ago in which senior officials of the cooperation department were also present.
Bally Cooperative Bank had also faced almost the same fate during the Left Front regime. Depositors were harassed as they didn’t get their money back for years as loan was allegedly given to those who were close to local CPI(M) leadership and the bank had failed to recollect the loan amount.
Anindya Ghosh, secretary of the Ramkrishnapur Cooperative Bank Employees Union, said the rejection of the application for licence to carry on the “financial business” had affected lives of many people. There were 64 employees of the bank and two have died. There were around 45,000 depositors of the bank and everyone is waiting to get back their hard earned money.
Moreover, the cooperative bank in the urban part of the district had played a crucial role as many local small and medium scale traders were benefitted. But the things started going worse as recovery of loan had failed in the last five to six years, sources said.