V. Venkatasubramanian

Bank issues notices asking villagers to repay entire loan

They owned cattle when the loans were granted
The milch animals that turned unproductive sold

KANCHEEPURAM: The project on biogas plants for domestic use in Papanallur panchayat in Kancheepuram district has hit roadblocks, reportedly because of bureaucrats’ unhelpful attitude.

The zeal and readiness witnessed among the villagers during September last year are now clearly missing.

The 100-odd families, who have come forward to set up biogas plants near their dwelling units, each taking a loan of Rs.19,000 from the nearby Bank of India’s Kammalampoondi branch, said they were shocked to receive a notice from the bank, asking them to repay the loan amount including the subsidy portion as early as possible.

“We were told that the Government would extend a subsidy of Rs.3500 per plant and our loan would be Rs.15,500 only. But we have received notice asking us to remit the entire amount”, said a beneficiary.

Shortage of cow-dung

Further, non-availability of adequate quantity of cow-dung has put some of the beneficiaries in a fix.

They owned cattle when the loans were granted — a condition to be fulfilled by the applicants — but they were forced to sell the cattle a few months ago as milch animals turned unproductive.

Pointing out that they could not afford to rear a cow for the sake of getting the dung alone, they alleged that their applications for cattle loan were not entertained in view of biogas plant loan granted in their names. Thus, some of them have given up establishment of the plant in their courtyard mid-way.

Meanwhile, a section of the users claimed that they were not able to get adequate gas from the plant presumably because of the crude design of the plant. Gas, generated inside the tank, leaks out through inlet and outlet channels, which do not have leak-proof locking mechanism.

Hence, it has become necessary to add cow-dung once in two days.

However, the village was able to save a sizable number of small trees from felling, thanks to the biogas concept.

When contacted, senior officials termed these developments as nothing but teething problems.