April 14, 2021 2:07:34 am
Haryana BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni on Tuesday alleged that the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme was “a ploy of the government to deduct outstanding loan amount” from the accounts of farmers. However, the government said that the issue of loan is a matter between the banks and the farmers concerned, stating the government has nothing to do with it.
Under the DBT scheme, the government has decided to transfer the payment of crops directly to the bank account of farmers instead of via arhtiyas (commission agents) of mandis. The arhtiyas had gone on strike against the scheme at first. However, they called off the stir after the Haryana government assured them that their concerns will be raised with the Centre.
Like arhtiyas association, Chaduni too had advocated that the farmers should have choice to pick between the DBT or the option of taking their payment through arhtiyas.
“I believe the system of direct payment is aimed at deducting pending amount of loan from the bank accounts of farmers,” said Chaduni in a video message addressed to farmers Tuesday.
Chaduni gave example of a farmer Yashpal from village Khandwa (Yamunanagar) who alleged that a public sector bank deducted Rs 24,000 from his account after a sugar mill made the payment. Chaduni claimed the sugar mill had got it in written form from the bank that the loan amount can’t be deducted from the payment of sugarcane. But despite that, the farmer leader added, the bank deducted Rs 24,000 from his account. “We have received similar complaints earlier too,” he added.
Sources in Haryana’s cooperative banks, however, said that there was nothing wrong if the outstanding loan amount was deducted from the accounts of farmers who fail to deposit their instalments on time. They also claimed that few other states have already opted for such a model of recovery from the accounts of farmers.
A former officer of Haryana State Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd (HARCO Bank) said that “about 4.5 lakh farmers had turned defaulters after they failed to return their loan instalments to the bank on time”. He added that there was a current outstanding of around Rs 4,000 crore loan against farmers’ names. However, the officer said that almost 7.5 lakh farmers have been depositing their instalments regularly, while three years back the number of such farmers was around 5 lakh.
Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister J P Dalal said the concept of direct payment in the accounts of farmers is aimed to empower them and save them from the exploitation.
“The issue of loan is a matter between a bank and the farmer concerned. We have to nothing to do with their loan matter. We will simply transfer the payment of crop in the bank account of farmer as provided to us,” said the minister. Terming Chaduni “an arhtiya and a supporter of arhtiyas”, Dalal took him on for his latest statement.
“A new type of fear is being instilled in the mind of farmers with such statements while the farmers are happy with the concept of direct payment in their accounts,” he added.
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