Hyderabad: Resentment is brewing among farmers as banks are denying crop loans despite the Kharif season having begun a fortnight ago, citing shortage of currency.
Banks have failed to disburse even 10 per cent of loans, forcing farmers to go to private lenders for high-interest loans.
All districts have witnessed decent rainfall and farmers are in a hurry to begin start work but lack of money has slowed them. Incidents of farmers staging protests demanding loans are being witnessed in districts.
The failure of the agriculture department in ensuring disbursal of money to farmers released under the final instalment of crop loan waiver has further compounded the farmers’ problems.
The government had issued orders releasing over Rs 4,000 crore as far back in May. Banks are asking farmers to repay the balance and renew their loan accounts.
A few farmers who are lucky enough to get fresh loans could not withdraw money due to currency shortage.
With cash supply in ATMs being unreliable, farmers are demanding loan disbursal in cash which the banks are refusing to do.
The agriculture department took the issue to the notice of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao who asked bankers to resolve the currency shortage issue. Two weeks hence, there is no change.
Agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy said, “We took up the issue with the RBI and the state level bankers committee last week. They have assured that the issue will be resolved, but the problem still persists. We cannot afford to delay loans.”
Bankers said the RBI had stopped supply of new currency notes to the state from May which has resulted in the shortage. “Each branch is not getting even Rs 4 lakh per day. We are not in a position to give fresh loans,” said a banking official....