This being the International Year of Cooperatives (2012), the State government has embarked upon a scheme to modernise all cooperative banks. With this, the cooperative banks would have incorporated all safety features on a par with private banks, said Sellur K. Raju, Cooperatives Minister.

Addressing a review meeting here, Mr. Raju said that already cooperative banks in Tiruvannamalai district had introduced e-banking facility and Villupuram district would soon follow suit.

The Minister blamed the erstwhile Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government for leaving the cooperative sector in a quandary.

He alleged that irregularities to the tune of Rs. 8 crore had come to light in the Villupuram cooperative sector.

Therefore, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had come out with a plethora of suggestions. Mr Raju said that the Chief Minister had sanctioned a sum of Rs. 3,000 crore to be given away as crop loans this year through cooperative banks and of this 20 per cent had been earmarked for Adi Dravidars.

In the last nine months, crop loans to the tune of Rs. 2,821.61 crore, including Rs. 321.20 crore for Adi Dravidars, was disbursed.

The Minister further noted that a sum of Rs. 30,800 crore had been set aside for giving loans to self-help groups, small farmers and jewel loans.

As farm labourers had gone scarce, the Chief Minister had proposed to mechanise farm activities such as harvesting, de-weeding operation and so on and for the purpose she had sanctioned Rs 80 crore. The funds would be disbursed within a fortnight through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Banks.

Commercial Tax Minister C.Ve. Shanmugham said that since Villupuram was a backward district in terms of economic and agricultural aspects, officials should make sure to spend the funds properly for the uplift of people.

Collector V.Sampath, MP M.Anandan, and MLAs Janakiraman, Kumaraguru and Alaguvel Babu, were present.

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