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Government to give new look to coop. initiative

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Staff Reporter

Primary coops. will be strengthened: Minister

He says cooperative lending for higher education will be given priorityPlans to infuse more professionalism into the functioning of primary cooperatives to improve their performanceSays provision of farm loans by district cooperative banks at a minimum of four per cent interest on the anvil

KOZHIKODE: Minister for Cooperation and Devaswoms G. Sudhakaran has said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government will give a new look to the cooperative initiative in the State and infuse professionalism in its functioning.

At a meet-the-press programme organised by Kozhikode Press Club here on Sunday, Mr. Sudhakaran said the primary agriculture cooperative societies that were running at a loss would be streamlined and cooperative lending for higher education would be given priority.

He said more professionalism would be infused into the functioning of primary cooperatives to improve their performance.

This is in view of the indictment by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on the lacklustre functioning of these societies.

NABARD had pointed out that these societies were not insured, supervised, regulated or timely audited on primary banking norms.

The streamlining of the primary cooperatives that were the backbone of the rural economy would be carried out in consultation with NABARD.

Of the 1,594 primary cooperatives, 722 were making a profit. As many as 24 primary cooperatives had become defunct in the State.

Provision of farmer loans by district cooperative banks at a minimum of four per cent interest is also on anvil.

The cooperative movement had a 3.5 crore membership. Mr. Sudhakaran criticised the reported statement of the former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that the LDF Government had failed to deliver the goods.

"What they could not achieve in five years we achieved in five days. The LDF is functioning in a more responsible manner as a cohesive team. The misrule of the UDF in the last five years was such that even the bureaucracy has been affected by it. The official machinery needed to be awakened," he said.

"A change in the style of functioning is called for. Revenge is not the need of the hour. Unlike when the former Government came to power, we have not disbanded any cooperative, nor removed Government nominees. This was despite allegations of misappropriation to the tune of Rs.500 crores in the State Cooperative Bank," the Minister said.

He claimed that the State Government had done its utmost for those affected by the monsoon.

As many as 20,000 relief camps had been set up, and Rs.1 crore each disbursed in districts affected by the monsoon.

On the allocation of seats for post-graduate courses in the Pariyaram Cooperative Medical College, Mr. Sudhakaran took the view that tenets of social justice had been violated.

``Not a single seat has been allotted in the merit quota. Also the director of the society had issued contradictory statements on the number of seats that had been filled and those that went lapse.

"The Government will seek a report and examine the legality of the existing situation at the college on the allocation of seats. The law will take is course," he said.

On the anomalies in the functioning of temple management committees, the Minister said that many of the committees had defaulted in paying the instalment due to the Government, through which the salary of the staff was paid.

"A sum of Rs.3.8 crores was due from 140 temple managements for the year 2004 alone. In a temple in Kozhikode city, a permanent trustee committee has been in power for more than 25 years. The Government will take adequate measures in such cases," he said.

Press Club president K.V. Kunhiraman, vice-president Sudheendra Kumar and the former MLA T.P. Ramakrishnan were also present.

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