Kollam: The cashew entrepreneurs and workers along with their families will stage a hunger strike on Thiruvonam day protesting the hostile attitude of banks and laxity on the part of the Union and state governments in resolving the crisis that has gripped the industry for the last four years.
Former chief minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the hunger strike organised by the Cashew Industry Protection Council (CIPC) before the State Secretariat at 11 am Wednesday.
"With the hunger strike, we put forward our demand to save the cashew workers and entrepreneurs from suicide by reviving the industry and thereby ensuring job safety. The banks, despite efforts to revive the sector by pumping in more money, often move ahead with coercive action to recover NPAs," K. Rajesh, Cashew Industry Protection Council president told DC.
The council alleges that the banks, disregarding the decision of the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) at a meeting chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan convened to resolve the crisis, are not helping the industry by refinancing and rescheduling the existing loans.
The government had devised a revival package by pumping in more money to keep the industry running.
Based on the package, it decided to avoid the penalty for defaults in current loans by the processors and to give provision to repay existing bank loans and working capital in instalments for a revised interest rate of 9 per cent on a long term basis.
The government will repay interest on new loans. The interest subsidy has been planned for a year now but would consider an extension if necessary.
Currently, some 700 cashew factories in the private sector remain shut due to financial crunch.
Loans of 173 of them have been declared NPAs facing recovery procedures....