Hyderabad: Finance minister T. Harish Rao and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar held an emergency meeting with bankers at the BRKR Bhavan on Tuesday in the wake of complaints that the banks were adjusting Rythu Bandhu amounts credited by the state government in the bank accounts of farmers to meet kharif cultivation expenses for repayment of their crop loan arrears.
Responding to a report published in these columns, “Banks take Rythu Bandhu, farmers struggle”, on Tuesday, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao directed the finance minister and the Chief Secretary to immediately convene a meeting with bankers and resolve the issue.
In the meeting, strict instructions were issued to banks against adjusting Rythu Bandhu amount for any other purpose. Bankers were directed to credit back the amount to farmers’ accounts that were already deducted or adjusted towards crop loan arrears or interest payment.
“Instances have come to the notice of the government that some banks are not allowing the farmers to withdraw their Rythu Bandhu amount given by the government of Telangana and also adjusting the same against old dues. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao issued directions to hold an emergency meeting with the bankers in this regard,” said Somesh Kumar.
However, in the meeting, bankers claimed that no instruction was issued to their staff to withhold the Rythu Bandhu funds. Harish Rao issued clear instructions to the bankers not to withhold any Rythu Bandhu amount in future. Any amount which has been withheld or adjusted shall be credited back to farmers’ accounts. He asked bankers to issue strict instructions to the bank branches regarding the same. District collectors were also instructed to monitor the same at the district level. A state level team will monitor any issues faced by farmers.
Two toll free numbers — 18002001001 and 04033671300 — were launched for farmers to address any issues faced by them with banks which will work from 8 am to 8 pm. In addition, Harish Rao also instructed the bankers to expedite the disbursement/renewal of crop loans for the ongoing kharif season.
Those who participated in the meeting were K. Ramakrishna Rao, principal secretary, finance; Ronald Rose, special secretary, finance; Raghunandan Rao, secretary, agriculture; Natarajan, DGM, State Bank of India; Man Mohan Gupta, GM, Bank of Baroda; Sesh Kumar Adiraju, DGM State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC); Shaik Hussain, DGM, Union Bank of India; S.V.J. Venu Gopal, DGM, Canara Bank; Dr N. Muralidhar, MD, TSCAB;, R.V. Sarada, AGM, Indian Overseas Bankl P. Parthasaradhi, GM, APGVB; and Satish Kumar, GM, TGB.