Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has requested Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das to take measures to extend the moratorium on repayment of crop loans by farmers to December 31 in the aftermath of Kerala floods.
"Almost a year back, Kerala witnessed the worst floods in over a century. The devastating impact of the floods further was compounded by the inability of farmers to repay the agricultural loan on account of widespread crop loss, and extensive damage to other productive assets," Gandhi wrote in his letter to Das.
"Furthermore, external factors like sharp fall in global commodity prices of cash crops have adversely affected the ability of our farmers to bounce back," added Gandhi in the letter.
In the letter, Rahul claims that Kerala has witnessed a tragic spate of farmer suicide in the aftermath of banks initiating recovery proceedings against helpless farmers under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act 2002.
"Despite the demand of the State government and the opposition parties to extend the moratorium on repayment of loans to December 31, the state level Bankers Committee has refused to consider the demand. I request the RBI to take measures to extend the moratorium on repayment to December 2019. I would be grateful if I am informed of the action taken" reads the letter.
At least 95 people died and 34 others sustained injuries in incidents related to heavy rain and floods since August 8 in different parts of Kerala.
Fifty-nine others are missing and efforts to trace them are underway, authorities said on Wednesday. Torrential rains over the last few days have wreaked havoc across the state and also caused several landslides. Malappuram is the worst hit with the highest toll of 31.
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