Farmers bodies and employees in the cooperative sector have resolved to fight against the ‘anti-farmer’ Prakash Bakshi Committee report on short-term Credit Cooperative Structure.

At a roundtable conference organised by the N.G. Ranga Kisan Samastha here on Saturday, they expressed fears over the very existence of the Primary Agricultural Cooperatives (PACs). They urged the State government to reject the recommendations in the interest of the three-tier cooperative credit institutions.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) could not impose its recommendations on the cooperative credit institutions since the subject came under the State list of the Indian constitution, said Samastha general secretary Ch. Seshaiah.

Prakasam District Central Cooperative Bank Chairman Edara Mohan Babu said he along with like-minded chairmen of DCCBs would impress upon Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to protect the sector which faithfully implemented the government's various farmer-friendly initiatives like interest-free loans for farmers. “If DCCBs directly gave advances to individual farmers in remote villages, recovery will be a big problem,” he said.

The heads of PACs elected through direct elections should not be turned into business correspondents. If the PACs liabilities were shifted to the DCCBs then the survival of the DCCBs themselves would be a question mark, he added.

Taking part in an elaborate discussion on the report of the expert committee constituted by the Reserve Bank of India under Nabard Chairman Prakash Bakshi, veteran farmers leader K.Singaiah Chowdary, who had headed the PAC at Ravinuthala for several terms, said Banking Regulations Act should not be applied to the cooperative credit institutions governed by the State law.

Tobacco Board former member Ch.Ranga Rao said the Nabard seemed to have lost sight of its mandate to promote agriculture and rural development. The recommendations if implemented would force peasants to go to private money lenders and deepen the agrarian crisis, felt CPI-led Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham district secretary V.Hanuma Reddy.

Protracted struggle

CITU district president G. Srinivasulu said the cooperatives employees should join hands with farmers for a protracted struggle against the Nabard circular. Cooperative employees at the grassroots level were likely to be thrown out of jobs, feared All India Trade Union Congress District President Sd.Sardar.

Farmers bodies urge the State government to reject the recommendations of the panel report