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Walkout over farmers? issue

THE OPPOSITION staged walkout twice in the Assembly, charging the State Government with insensitivity on farmers? issues.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 15:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

THE OPPOSITION staged walkout twice in the Assembly, charging the State Government with insensitivity on farmers’ issues.

The first walkout by three members of Congress led by Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi was followed by the second led by CPM’s Ramlakhan Sharma and Samajwadi Party’s Arjun Palia. The protest came during Minister Himmat Kothari’s reply on a private resolution moved by Palia on reduction of interest rates on agriculture loans.

The Chair rejected the resolution. Palia had moved a private resolution demanding that initiatives be taken to make uniform the interest rates on the agriculture loans given to the farmers by the cooperative and other banks, and the vehicle and housing loans given to other customers by other banks.

The SP MLA mentioned that the farmers, who are already under huge pressure owing to vagaries of nature, unavailability of fertilizers and seeds and electricity problems, feel immensely burdened by the huge interest rates of the cooperative banks. Often, their entire life goes in repaying only the interest, he added.

His resolution received support from the few opposition members present including Congress’ Govind Singh and Indrajit Patel and CPM’s Ramlakhan Sharma.

Replying to the resolution, the minister said although the State Government has lowered the interest rates on agriculture loans by three percent since year 2000, financial crisis faced by the cooperative banks prevents further lowering of the rates.

He mentioned that the Registrar of Co-operatives, through a notification has urged the banks that follow the provisions under section 11(1) of Banking Regulation Act should keep the interest rates on agriculture loans at 12 per cent and those banks that do not follow the provisions should cut down interest rates by at least one percent.

He also mentioned that since 2002, the interest rates on various loan amount categories have gone down. However, midway through his reply, the Leader of Opposition charged the government of being insensitive about the farmers’ issues.

She said that the minister was just coming out with a host of statistics but not inclined to do anything for the benefit of the farmers.

Saying this, she walked out with the other two Congress members present. A little while later, Ramlakhan Sharma followed. Palia, who refused to withdraw his resolution, joined in the walkout.

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 15:09 IST