Yavatmal collector orders boycott of SBI over ‘slow’ crop loan disbursal
Yavatmal collector orders government offices to shut down their accounts with SBI as the bank has been allegedly slow in disbursing crop loans to farmersUpdated: Jun 15, 2018 20:46 IST
Hindustan Times, Nagpur
The Yavatmal collector has ordered that the accounts of all government offices at the State Bank of India (SBI) be closed over the slow pace of disbursal of crop loans to farmers in the district.
Collector Rajesh Deshmukh alleged that SBI has been rigid about disbursing crop loans to farmers hit by drought and crop failure for the last three years. Although the bank was given a crop loan target of Rs 571 crore for the district, it has disbursed only Rs 51 crore so far, he added.
Yavatmal has earned the ignominy of being the epicenter of farmer suicides in Maharashtra.
The collector issued the order to all state-run offices in the district on June 13. This is a significant move, considering that most government accounts are associated with the SBI.
Deshmukh said the district administration held joint meetings with bank officials on several occasions and even warned them against delaying the crop loans. However, when their efforts went in vain, he asked the government offices to transact with the Central Bank of India and the Union Bank of India instead.
Deshmukh said crop loans are nothing short of a right for farmers, and adequate provisions have been made in the country’s annual budget for the same. He said the district was supposed to disburse loans amounting to Rs 2,078-crore among 43,280 eligible farmers in 2018 through various financial sources, of which the SBI is just one. However, only Rs 377 crore – amounting to 10% of the target – has been distributed till now.
“We have already closed state government accounts in six SBI branches across the district and instructed others to do so too. We have also asked for all the deposits to be withdrawn,” said Deshmukh.
Backing the move, state agriculture mission chairman Kishore Tiwari said the administration should also initiate criminal action against SBI officials for violating central directives.
Senior SBI officials could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.
One farmer commits suicide every day in Yavatmal on an average. As many as 176 farmers have killed themselves in the Vidarbha region since January, 70 of them from this district alone. The death toll stood at 472 last year.
First Published: Jun 15, 2018 20:46 IST