Congress-backed farmers’ body threatens erring banks

April 10th, 2008 - 5:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Kochi, April 10 (IANS) A farmers’ organisation that owes allegiance to the Congress announced Thursday that it would take to task banks in Kerala that do not write off farmers’ loans according to a waiver announced by the central government. Addressing reporters here, Kerala Pradesh Karshaka Congress president Lal Varughese Kalpakavadi said that during his rally across the state he had got a poor feedback about the situation of farmers.

Kalpakavadi is the captain of the vehicle rally that began April 1 from Kasaragode and has criss-crossed half the state. The organisation members have met around 50,000 farmers so far.

“At several places, farmers told us of the indifferent attitude of the banks. If this continues then we will take on the banks that are not heeding the farmers,” said Kalpakavadi.

The state-wide rally was planned to gauge the response to the Rs.600 billion farm loan waiver announced in the union budget on Feb 29.

“We have asked those farmers who have been treated badly by bank officials for the details. Once we get the list we will not hesitate to conduct a public trial of these bankers. Wherever necessary we will even extend legal help to the farmers,” he added.

The rally is slated to end in the state capital April 19. Union Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram is expected to participate.

This is the first time that the Kerala unit of the Karshaka Congress is conducting such a state-wide mass contact programme. It expects to meet 100,000 farmers by the time the rally ends.

He said they would seek the opinion of farmers on the loan waiver and send a report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Kalpakavadi said that according to preliminary calculations, they expect nearly Rs.64 billion of outstanding loans taken by Kerala farmers to be written off through the loan waiver.

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