The State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) for Karnataka has unanimously passed a resolution giving effect to the rescheduling of term loans amounting to Rs 1,357 crore, including the principal and interest to debt-stressed grape and pomegranate growers. The banks have also agreed to extend fresh line of credit irrespective of the closure of the previous loan account to farmers.
The bankers agreed to it after the intervention of Karnataka chief secretary Kaushik Mukherjee and minister for law T B Jayachandra at the 128th quarterly meeting of the SLBC, here today.
Mukherjee stressed that it was not sufficient to just reschedule the loan accounts. It was important to extend a fresh line of credit so that the growers could plant these two fruits crops all over again.
Lat Krishna Rau, additional chief secretary and development commissioner, asked the banks to consider the condition as a natural calamity and extend fresh credit to farmers for taking up fresh cultivation.
The farmers across the northern districts have suffered huge losses owing to the bacterial blight disease in the pomegranate crop, and drought and floods in the grape-growing regions from 2004.
“SLBC will become a talking shop if bankers continue to deny fresh loans to growers who had lost crops due to consecutive droughts and diseases. Growers are not willful defaulters and they need help from the banks to continue with the farming,” he said.