M A I N   N E W S

One-time settlement scheme introduced for Punjab farmers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Punjab Government has introduced a one-time settlement scheme( OTS) with regard to the recovery of dues from defaulter farmers who had secured loans from cooperative banks.

Sources told The Tribune today that both the Punjab State Cooperative Bank (PSCB)and the Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank( PSCADB) and such banks at the district level had been told to implement the OTS and settle the cases of willing farmers by December 31, the day when the scheme will end.

Even commercial banks and Regional Rural Banks have also introduced this scheme in the state. The state government has estimated that if all defaulter farmers agreed to clear their dues under the OTS, the PSCB and the PSCADB will waive dues worth Rs 211.36 crore standing against farmers in the state. In other words, both these banks would suffer a loss of Rs 211.36 crore by way of giving relief to farmers. “The losses suffered by these banks will be partially met from the Bad and Doubtful Fund”, said a senior officer of the Punjab Cooperative Department.

The sources said the implementation of the OTS by commercial banks was poor. By now these banks had dealt with 249 cases and settled dues worth Rs 53 lakh in the state. No information is available with regard to the total number of defaulter farmers in the case of these banks and also with regard to the total amount involved and what part of that is to be waived the OTS.

The PSCB and the District Central Cooperative Banks, which give short-term loans, have received 94 cases for settlement in the past few days and of these 27 have been settled. While settling 27 cases, relief of Rs 1.82 lakh had been given to the farmers concerned. In fact, the number of defaulter farmers and the amount involved were low. “ Only Rs 20 crore in all will have to be waived in the case of defaulter farmers who secured loans from either the PSCB or the District Central Cooperative Banks and their branches in the countryside.

The number of defaulter farmers, who had secured long-term loans to buy tractors and farm equipment and implements from the PSCADB and the District Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank, is huge. The sources said the number of defaulter farmers in the case of long-term loans was 53,430 and the total amount involved Rs 529.33 crore. The amount to be waived in such cases was Rs 191.36 crore.

The highest number (42,368) of defaulter farmers and others concerned is in Ferozepore division that covers the cotton belt of the Malwa region. The largest number of cases of suicide by farmers has been reported from that belt. Though the number of defaulter farmers in Patiala division is only 5,341, the total dues against them total Rs 405 crore.

For the settlement of long-term loans, the PSCADB and the District Cooperative Agriculture Development Banks have received 4,643 applications from defaulter farmers. Of these, 40 cases had been settled by recovering Rs 10.43 lakh, it is learnt.

On the directions of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, Mr Vishwajit Khanna, district-level default review committees under the chairmanship of the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies had been set up. Each committee will have four members. These committees will approve cases for settlement on the basis of the guidelines notified by the Registrar.

An interesting feature of the OTS is that the District Cooperative Agriculture Development Banks in the districts will offer to return the land of those farmers from whom they had bought the same at auction to recover dues. Farmers would be given an opportunity to buy back their land provided they clear the dues determined under the OTS. 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |