The State Government has not taken any constructive step to protect the 22,000 cooperative societies in the State which were in the verge of a collapse, Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said.

Addressing reporters here on Monday, the party's State executive committee member, K. Balakrishnan, said that election to the cooperative societies had not been held for nine years. “This is against the spirit of cooperative movement. The Government has cited a case pending in the Supreme Court against dissolution of an elected body for not conducting the polls. But, there is no stay on the conduct of election,” he said.

In the absence of an elected body, the cooperative societies were being run by officials. Alleging that large-scale irregularities had taken place in the societies, he sought action against the administrators for the cooperative sugar mills facing an accumulated loss of Rs. 1,034 crore.

After participating in a one-day seminar organised by the party here on Cooperative movement and its present state, Mr. Balakrishnan said that the party would soon organise a conference to highlight the need to protect the cooperative movement. Employees of cooperative bodies would participate in it.

The conference would seek conduct of election to all cooperative bodies. “A separate election commission must be formed for conducting the election in a fair manner without any influence by the ruling party. All the members must be issued identity cards,” he said.

Over 4,200 primary agricultural cooperative societies were not able to give fresh crop loans to farmers due to lack of funds. He said that the State Government had claimed to have released Rs. 5,000 crore out of Rs. 7,000 crore agricultural loan that was waived off. “But, these funds have only reached the district central cooperative banks and not the rural banks. The central banks have adjusted the fund against the outstanding dues of the rural banks,” he said.

Farmers were forced to take loans from usurers and faced the danger of losing their agricultural lands to them, he added. Several societies were not able even to disburse salary to the employees for many months.

The party State secretary, G. Ramakrishnan, addressed the seminar in which former directors, office-bearers and employees participated.