Bhubaneswar, Jan. 22: Chairman of State Bank of India Pratip Chaudhuri today expressed concern over the slowdown of the mining business in Odisha.
“We expect that the restrictions on mining activities will be relaxed. However, all the norms, including the environmental laws, have to be complied with. We will continue to support the steel companies and have not deserted them at this point. We will only take action against wilful defaulters,” Chaudhuri said here today.
The SBI chief said their bank had advanced loans in a big way to various big industrial houses, including Bhusan Steel, the National Thermal Power Corporation, the Indian Oil Corporation (for its oil refinery in Paradip) and Vedanta Alumina (for its Jharsuguda project).
“Our total support to the steel sector across the country comes to around Rs 18,000 crore. In Odisha, it has touched Rs 4,000 crore,” he said.
Stating that SBI was still the leading bank in which the common investors had reposed their faith, Chaudhuri said: “We are aiming to make a profit to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore in the current fiscal.”
Assuring that there would be no dearth of funds for supporting various projects in Odisha, Chaudhuri said: “We have an extra liquidity of Rs 50,000 crore. Our financial position is quite strong.”
The SBI has lent loans to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore to retailers, Rs 2,800 to farmers, Rs 926 crore to students and Rs 6,000 crore to various small-scale units in Odisha, he said.
The SBI chief said his bank shouldered the lead bank responsibilities in 19 out of the 30 districts in the state. Of these 19 districts, 14 are affected by Left-wing extremism.
“The SBI is making efforts to bring about financial inclusion of the people in these remote and difficult districts with a mix of regular branches, ultra small branches and business correspondents. Our advances to Odisha are to the tune of Rs 30,375 crore. The priority sector advances are to the extent of 54 per cent, which is well beyond the benchmark of 40 per cent,” he said.
Coming to the national issue, Chaudhuri said the bank would continue to engage Kingfisher Airlines in dialogues to repay their dues. “We are in touch with them,” he said.