Staff Reporter

Issue taken up with banks, says Achuthanandan

KOCHI: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Friday said a special sitting of the Assembly would be convened to discuss loan relief fund for farmers.

Inaugurating a three-day district conference of the CITU at Thripunithura here on Friday, he said the Government would either provide a year's moratorium on loan repayment or allow a one-time settlement of loans.

The Government had taken up the matter with the banks, he said. Suicide by farmers, on account of the Union Government's policy of allowing unrestricted import of agricultural commodities, resulted in the crisis in the sector, he added.

The Government's plan to waive interest on the loans would perhaps be a major step in checking suicides by farmers, he said.

About 10 lakh workers would benefit from the fund, he said. He wondered how the previous government could not come up with the exact number of farmers who committed suicide on account of the wrong farm policy. In fact, the UDF Government had declared that there were no suicides by farmers, he said.

A pro-poor policy was adopted by the Government in case of admissions to meritorious students in self-financing colleges too, he said.

At the meeting, E.K. Narayanan, president of the district committee of the CITU, presided. Trade union leaders E. Balanandan, K.N. Ravindranath, M.M. Lawrence, K. Chandran Pillai, MP, S. Sarma, Minister for Fisheries, Gopi Kottamurikkal, CPI(M) district secretary, and K.A. Chackochan, secretary, district committee, CITU, spoke on the occasion.

The delegates meeting will he held on Saturday and Sunday at the Seema Auditorium, Thripunithura.

Earlier, a workers rally was taken out in Thripunithura. Mr. Achuthanandan was given a rousing welcome at the inaugural function.