Opposition BJP accused the Congress government of not fulfilling its promise of providing complete loan waiver to farmers of Chhattisgarh.
BJP members later staged a walkout from the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly over the issue.
Brijmohan Agrawal, Ajay Chandrakar (both BJP) and Ajit Jogi (Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J)) raised the issue of farm loan waiver through a call attentionmotionnotice.
“A farmer, Mohan Ram Nirala, of Charaidand village under the Duldula police station area in Jashpur district committed suicide last month after his farm loans were not waived,” they claimed.
The Congress was elected to power late last year after promising to write-off loans of 35 lakh farmers in the state, the opposition MLAs pointed out.
But cultivators were now in a dilemma as they were not getting loan clearance certificates from banks. In the absence of these certificates, they were not getting fresh loans for the ongoing farming activities, they said.
The MLAs said farmers were feeling cheated by the Congress government and resentment was brewing among them.
Refuting their charges, Cooperative Minister Premsai Singh Tekam said Nirala did not commit suicide over loan waiver.
Nirala had taken a loan of Rs 3 lakh under Kisan Credit Card from the Kunkuri branch of Allahabad Bank in 2016. A loan waiver amount of Rs 93,838.98 was deposited in his bank account on June 27 this year, he said.
Similarly, the farmer had borrowed Rs 1 lakh from Chhattisgarh Rajya Gramin Bank, Duldula branch. The government had deposited Rs 93,403 in two installments in his account in the rural bank on June 24 and 26, the minister said.
The government has decided to waive short-term loans of farmers which were pending as on November 30, 2018. Short- term agriculture loans of Rs 5260.15 crore drawn from cooperative banks/cooperative societies of 13.46 lakh farmers were written-off, Tekam said.
Similarly, loans of Rs 2441.25 crore of 2.72 lakh farmers disbursed by public sector banks are being waived. So far these commercial banks have been given Rs 899.21 crore of loan amount, the minister said.
Besides, loans to the tune of Rs 1208.33 crore of 1.79 lakh farmers taken from Chhattisgarh Rajya Gramin Bank is also being waived. Of this loan amount, Rs 701.11 crore has been paid so far to the bank, he added.
Rejecting allegations that farmers were running around for seeds, fertililsers and pesticides, among others, for sowing in the ongoing kharif season, the minister said enough credit has been made available to agriculturists.
Short-term agriculture loans of Rs 704.65 crore were disbursed to 1,7309 farmers from private sector banks, while Rs 57.77 crore was given to 11,564 farmers from state rural banks till June 2019, he said.
Similarly, loans of Rs 2401.77 lakh, including Rs 706.47 lakh for certified seeds and fertilisers, were distributed to over 7 lakh farmers till July 17 from cooperative societies and banks, the minister added.
BJP legislators sought to know why Nirala was not given full loan waiver and when will this entire process will be completed.
They also asked whenwill agriculture loans of farmers having non-performing accounts in banks be waived.
To which the minister said, the loans of farmers having NPA will be waived under one-time settlement process which is underway.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said no farmer in the state will be debt ridden.
“First, we waived loans of farmers pending in cooperative banks. The process to waive loans taken by farmers from rural and commercial banks is underway.
“In nationalised banks, pending loans of farmers who have defaulted will be waived through one-time settlement process,” Baghel said.
This process involves several commercial banks and therefore it will take some time to fulfil all the required formalities before settling loans, Baghel added.
“We care for our farmers and no cultivator in the state will be debt ridden,” the chief minister asserted.
Later, BJP members staged a walkout from the house expressing dissatisfaction over the reply of minister Tekam.