2,784 applications of the 3,843 submitted during the four melas pending since mid November

Loan melas may have fuelled dreams of those aiming academic stars, but those hopes and dreams seen to be taking too long to turn real.

The sanctioning of loans is moving on in snail's pace, with 2,784 applications (72.44 per cent) of the 3,843 applications submitted during the four loan melas since July, still pending with the banks. This is as per the figures provided by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) till mid November.

According to S.S. Kumar, Project Director of DRDA, of the total 3,843 applications, loans have been sanctioned to 787 applicants (20.48 per cent). Of this, Rs. 3.82 crore has been distributed to 549 applicants till mid November.

A breather is that the rest of the applications have not yet been dumped, going by the DRDA's figures that only 257 applications have been rejected till mid November. The pending applications included the 394 that has been forwarded to the bank's regional offices for sanction.

The applications got in the loan mela have been distributed to 112 branches of nationalised and private sector banks in the district, of which 28 branches (25 per cent) have not sanctioned loans to even one applicant. “They have not rejected all those applications but classified them as pending,” development officials said.

Topping the list of banks that have yet to act on applications is the Namakkal branch of a nationalised bank that has all of the 220 applications pending. The same bank's Vennandur branch comes second with 145 applications. There are a host of other banks that received less than10 applications but are yet to reject or sanction loans to even one of them.

Social activists say the banks needn't take so long to clear the applications. Less than half a dozen banks have received over 100 applications, while most of the banks have less than 50 applications. Had they taken one application per day, all the applications would have either been processed, sanctioned or rejected, they say.

Another hiccup in getting the loan sanctioned was the reluctance of the bank officials to disclose information regarding the documents that need to be attached to the loan application. “Each time, they say some information or the other is missing”, R. Saraswathi (43) said, suggesting the banks should display the requisites on the notice board.

To put such worries to reat, Mr. Kumar said the department was working out strategies to enable more students pursuing higher education to avail themselves of education loans in a timely manner. The focus here would be those who applied for loans in the melas organised by the DRDA.

The banks, too, had their version in the matter, Mr. Kumar said. Some banks claimed that students were not responding to their follow-up calls after the loan melas, he said. To verify this claim, block-level DRDA officials have begun calling up the students, who had registered during the loan mela, from the third week of November.

Bankers have also expressed the difficulties faced by them in terms of manpower shortage. “Amicable solutions are being worked out to fix the gap”, he added. Weekly review meetings are also conducted to analyse the status of loan applications submitted during the mela, he added.