After tickling waiver buds, Yogi Adityanath's iron fist on farm loans
Familiar election-time promise of waivers had prompted many not to clear their dues in the hope that the relief would cover them
- Published 29.06.19, 7:01 AM
- Updated 29.06.19, 2:14 PM
- a min read
Some 170 Bundelkhand farmers face the threat of auctioning of their properties and possible arrest over unpaid cooperative bank loans, under a rare move by the Uttar Pradesh government that the farmers said would destroy families.
Conversations with farmers and officials suggest the familiar election-time promise of waivers had prompted many not to clear their dues in the hope that the relief would cover them.
Yogi Adityanath’s government has formed teams of officials to ensure that loans taken from the Uttar Pradesh Sahkari Gram Bank are recovered after confiscating and auctioning the defaulters’ properties. If the proceeds from the auction fall short of the arrears, the farmer may be arrested.
Around 100 farmers have to pay back an aggregate sum of Rs 7 crore by the end of June, and another 70 must shell out Rs 4 crore by July-end.
Bank sources said the arrears of a total of 2,341 farmers from Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Mahoba districts of the Chitrakoot division of Bundelkhand had reached Rs 60.3 crore. Most of them sold their land to repay the loans after receiving notices.
But 170 farmers, the sources added, had too little land to recover the required money by selling it.
Additional commissioner (cooperatives) Vinay Kumar Mishra told reporters in Chitrakoot that the process of confiscating the loan defaulters’ properties had begun and the auctions would be held soon.
In the past, waivers or last-minute generous settlements had bailed out the farmers. In the 2017 Assembly poll campaign, BJP leaders had promised farm loan waivers.
“They said entire loans would be waived; so we didn’t start repaying the banks and the arrears rose at 6 to 8 per cent,” Sukhpal Singh, whose father is among the 170 farmers facing action, told The Telegraph. “We would have repaid the loans right at the beginning had the BJP not made such promises.
“For loans taken from nationalised commercial banks, the state government has waived up to Rs 1 lakh a farmer. But its waiver scheme has ignored those who took loans from cooperative banks.”
A cooperative bank official said: “We gave the farmers enough time to pay up. They didn’t respond, hoping the loans would be waived. We need the money back to run the banks.”