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Help resolve farmers’ debt problem

Bikram Singh Virk’s article, “Tame the money lender” (March 21) is one sided. To blame the Arhtiyas for all the ills of farmers is unfair. The writer refers to corruption in managing loans from banks. I totally disagree with this. Loans from nationalised banks are available without any bribe.

Banks in Punjab and Haryana are usually free of corruption. Why do farmers pay bribe when complaints against bank employees are taken very seriously by top officials? As for collateral demand by banks, when the money advanced by banks belongs to the general public, pensioners and savings, how can banks expect recovery of loans without collateral securities?

The writer says that denial of bank loans pushes farmers to traditional Arhtiyas. But the interest rate is only 1.5-2 per cent, sometimes free too, and all the advanced money is not Arhtiyas’ own capital. The Arhtiyas also take loans from friends, relatives and banks secured against the mortgage of their shops, houses and other properties.


In contrast, the bank interest is 13 per cent a month which, together with charges like insurance, inspection and mortgage, is around 18 per cent. The service is quicker than bank ATMs.

The government, experts, scientists, society and farmers themselves must evolve some mechanism to help the farmers. The pricing formula should be cost index based. The agricultural department should be responsive to the farmers’ needs. There may be some black sheep among Arhtiyas but all should not be blamed for lapses.

ASHOK KALRA, Naraingarh (Ambala)


I hold no brief for the Arhtiyas and have nothing against the debt-ridden farmers. The root cause of the problem is that though the land holding got fragmented, today’s farmer tends to live in the past glory of his grand father whose writ ran all over the village. As he lives beyond his means, he is facing problems.

Secondly, it is not the Arhtiyas but the farmer’s craze for getting his daughter married to an NRI groom without checking the antecedents and through unscrupulous travel agents that is responsible for the malady. The NRIs demand lakhs as dowry. This lands the farmers in the lap of the money lender. The government must step in to stem the rot.

Thirdly, in the free market economy, the Arhtiyas should not be governed by century-old obsolete laws to pamper the farmers to protect the vote bank. No law can regulate the interest rates between two willing parties for mutual benefit.

Lieutenant (IN) SUKHDEV SINGH GILL (retd), Jagraon


The banking community is making all-out efforts to reach the poor in the far-flung rural areas. Since the bank nationalisation in 1969, there have been drastic changes in the branch opening policy, structure of rural banking and modes of disbursement of credit to the rural sector. Every bank is participating in the development schemes formulated by the Centre, states and NABARD besides their own lending schemes.

These banks are governed by the Reserve Bank of India to comply with the Centre’s guidelines. The banks are also facilitated by the Indian Bank Association. The field staff violating the rules are taken to task. Even under these constraints, the banks help the farmers.

For example, credit under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) has been made so simple that every farmer can avail himself of various types of credit such as crop production credit, investment credit lines and even for consumption needs. So, blaming bankers without understanding their work culture is totally unacceptable.

Moreover, corruption erupts in monopoly services whereas the nationalised banks are now facing stiff competition from foreign banks, private banks (old and new), Regional Rural banks (RRBS), cooperative banks and local area banks.

Dr GURMIT SINGH, Chandigarh

Reverse mortgage

We senior citizens are happy that the Reverse Mortgage Scheme is being extended beyond 15 years, but what about stations like Patiala? Why is it not applicable in such places?

The government must include these places too to help senior citizens. The LIC and other government organisations like the National Housing Bank should extend this scheme to the rest of the country.


Justice on the fast track

The creation of three categories of cases in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as the subordinates courts should hopefully help complainants and petitioners get justice expeditiously.

The category of fast track should include all criminal cases. If the fast track cases are disposed of within six months, it will help check the increasing incidence of crime in society.

Moreover, the disposal of normal cases within one year and two years for those on the slow track are equally appreciable. It will create a lot of confidence among the victims in the courts of law. The ongoing cases in the courts should also be disposed of speedily.

N.M. HANSI, Ludhiana



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