Crop loans to the tune of Rs 501.69 crore extended to 51,017 farmers of Salem and Namakkal districts in Tamil Nadu will be waived to facilitate them to avail fresh loans to raise crops, state Cooperative Minister I Periyasamy said on Friday and assured that appropriate measures would be taken to ensure irregularities did not occur in future.
Irregularities in disbursement of loans to farmers in both the districts, in violation of norms fixed by the state-level technical committee for disbursing loans and disproportionate to their land holdings, came to light during a field-level investigation by the Cooperative department.
"In January 2021, about 1,11,833 farmers in Salem and Namakkal districts were provided waiver certificates for the crop loans taken while the waiver certificates were not provided to 51,017 ryots due to the irregularities," the Minister informed the Assembly.
Of a target of Rs 11,000 crore worth crop loans to farmers in the State set for 2020-21, the target for Salem and Namakkal was fixed at Rs 746 crore and Rs 534 crore respectively. But only Rs 614.92 crore and Rs 502.62 crore respectively was achieved for both the districts.
"Though maize and tapioca are the major crops, the loan sum for these two crops was less (compared to other crops). Farmers of these two districts provided a self-declaration that they cultivated turmeric and banana and in disproportionate to their land holdings to claim the benefits. This was exposed during the field investigation," the Minister said.
When the crop loan waiver was announced in January 2021, a total of 1,11,833 farmers in Salem and Namakkal districts were provided the waiver certificates and 51,017 people were left out due to the irregularities. Following a representation by the farmers of the two districts, Chief Minister M K Stalin, considering the interest of farming and farmers, agreed to waive their loans to pave the way for extending new loans to them.
"About 51,017 farmers would benefit through this gesture. Also, appropriate precautionary measures will be taken to prevent any irregularities in future," the Minister said.