Staff Correspondent

99 per cent of them have cleared their dues

HASSAN: There are 4.70 lakh farmers in the district, of whom 3,17,430 own between 1 and 2.5 acres of land, 1,02,866 own between 2.5 and 5 acres, 38,389 own between 5 and 10 acres, 10,739 own between 10 and 25 acres and 1,348 own more than 25 acres.

The Hassan District Central Cooperative Bank lent a total of Rs. 83 crore to 38,111 farmers. The bank also renewed old loans that were taken between April and December 2007 before giving new loans. Ninety-nine per cent of the farmers cleared their old loans before taking new ones. In addition, the State Government waived cooperative loans of up to Rs. 25,000.

As such, those who took loans from cooperative banks may not benefit from the loan waiver announced by the Union Finance Minister in the Union Budget. Out of 49,000 farmers who took loans from cooperative banks (including 38,111 from the HDCC Bank), hardly 2,000 stand to benefit from the loan waiver.

According to sources in cooperative banks, in December 2007, the Governor’s office sought details of loans given by cooperative banks, farmers’ cooperative societies and other cooperative institutions. It was found that 55,000 farmers had taken loans totalling Rs. 154 crore last year.

Commercial banks

Fifty per cent of the farmers in the district have not cleared loans taken from commercial banks. Canara Bank, the lead bank in the district, gave loans totalling Rs. 1,155 crore to 3,84,000 farmers. Only 50 per cent of them have cleared their dues. Cooperative banks and other such institutions extended loans amounting to Rs. 15,000 an acre as crop loan, while commercial banks had given up to Rs. 1 lakh an acre to farmers.

Speaking to The Hindu, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekar said he wanted the loan waiver to be extended to all farmers irrespective of the size of their holdings. The Government has stipulated that only those farmers with holdings of up to 5 acres would be eligible for the loan waiver scheme.