Mumbai, June 16: In an unprecedented move, Yavatmal district collector ordered the closure of seven government accounts in the State bank of India (SBI) due to failure in achieving targets of disbursal of crop loans to farmers in the district.
According to the Times of India report, Collector Rajesh Deshmukh issued orders to this effect on Thursday.
Yavatmal made the headlines of being the epicenter of farmer suicides in Maharashtra. Between January 1 and April 30, 68 farmers reportedly claimed their lives.
Deshmukh told TOI, that he undertook the action as the bank had failed to achieve the target of releasing loans to farmers.
“I had no option but to close the state government’s accounts with SBI. I had a long meeting with high-ranking SBI officials on June 2 and 3. However, when there was no progress I made clear it to the SBI administration that the government’s accounts would be closed,’’ he said.
SBI was anticipated to release Rs 571 crore crop loans and the maximum disbursement was to be done before the commencement of sowing season.
“I was told that against the target of Rs 571 crore, SBI had disbursed only Rs 51 crore. We were expecting that SBI, through its 45 branches in the district, would disburse at least 50% of the loan amount. Under such circumstances, we will not be able to tackle the agrarian crisis owing to non-cooperation,” the collector stated.
As per Deshmukh, the response of the district central cooperative bank and other nationalised banks was much better.
So far, the district central cooperative bank has disbursed 42% of the target amount, Union Bank of India and Central Bank of India released 28% and 20%.
The collector informed that “For Yavatmal district, we have set a target of Rs 2,078 crore”.
Citing the loan amnesty scheme, the collector said Rs 1200 crore loans of 2.8 lakh farmers had been waived.