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Letter to banks on SC, ST loans

Ranchi, Sept. 11: Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey today sought to clear the air on the right of Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) members to seek loans from banks against their land.

In a letter to the banks, Choubey asked the authorities to extend housing or education loan to STs and SCs, who approach them for the same and want to mortgage their property.

Choubey, who had sought the opinion of the government pleader, dispelled the notion that those belonging to the ST and SC communities needed to take the DCís permission to mortgage their land with the banks to secure home and education loan.

ďLand laws donít restrict or prohibit ST and SC members from getting financial assistance from banks for the purpose of constructing houses by mortgaging their raiyati holding. There is no provision of giving and seeking permission from the DCís office in case the STs and SCs intend to mortgage land for bank loan,Ē Choubey said, quoting the government counselís advice.

The government lawyer has further clarified that STs and SCs can mortgage their land for a period not exceeding 15 years for the purpose of taking education or housing loan.

Interestingly, itís not clear how the conception that ST and SC landowners needed permission from the DC to mortgage their land with banks gained ground. Even land laws like Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act donít mention such provisions.

Nevertheless, the DCís office keeps being flooded with such applications from ST and SC raiyats.

ďIn the past 12 years, several thousand applications had been received by the DCís office. The DC did not have anything to do in the case, and hence, all these applications are still lying unattended,Ē said a district official.

Several tribal organisations had also raised the issue time and again.

They were of the opinion that no law bars members of ST and SC communities from mortgaging their land to seek bank loans. Similarly, banks cannot ask for the DCís permission from loan seekers in such cases.

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