Farmers welcome TN government’s crop loan waiver

Terming the move timely, farmers in the delta region said this would bring huge relief, as they had sustained massive crop damages due to the unseasonal heavy rains in January

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s announcement on the waiver of crop loans sanctioned by cooperative institutions, has come as a big relief for farmers in the delta region who are facing a crisis situation due to the crop damage caused by the unseasonal rains in January, as well as because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The bursting of crackers and distribution of sweets to the public at some places in the delta region reflected the happiness of the delta farmers who have been pressing for this demand for a long time,” observed G. Sethuraman, president, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Nalasangam, Tiruvarur district, thanking the Chief Minister for fulfilling the expectations of the farmers.

“It is a boon for farmers who were facing heavy losses caused by the unseasonal rain,” said R. Subramanian, deputy secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association.

The demand for the waiver of outstanding loans was highlighted by farmers persistently as several of them had become ineligible to draw fresh crop loans through the cooperative institutions, pointed out Sundara Vimalanathan, general secretary, Thanjavur District Cauvery Farmers Protection Association and P.S. Masilamani, State Deputy Secretary, Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.

Terming the move as timely, R. Sabapathy of Periyakottai, a progressive farmer, said the waiver of outstanding loans would make several farmers eligible to avail of fresh crop loans in the ensuing season.

Commercial bank loans

While welcoming the waiver, farmers’ representatives have also demanded that loans sanctioned by commercial banks be also written off. “We know that waiver of crop loans taken from banks does not come under the purview of the State government. But the government can take over the responsibility of repaying bank loans or extending grants to individual farmers for repayment of the loans,” a farmer leader suggested.

Farmers’ representatives also insisted that the benefit of the waiver should be extended to all farmers, irrespective of whether they were small, marginal or big farmers. “We welcome the waiver; but it should be extended to all farmers,” said R. Raja Chidambaram, state secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.

Claiming that notices for distraint proceedings for default of crop loans were being issued in Perambalur district, Mr. Chidambaram urged the government to ensure that such actions were shelved immediately.

Welcoming the announcement, N. Veerasekaran, state spokesperson, Bharathiya Kisan Sangh, termed the waiver a “gift” to farmers who were reeling under a crisis due to the pandemic and the recent unseasonal rain. “But this is only a temporary relief; ensuring remunerative prices for farm produce alone can bring about a permanent solution to the problems faced by farmers,” he maintained.

The Chief Minister has announced the waiving off of crops loans to the tune of ₹12,110 crore obtained by over 14.13 lakh farmers from cooperative banks across the State.

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