Special Correspondent

Facilitates banks to recover NPAs and provides platform for borrowers to air grievances

MADURAI: The Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) here had recovered about Rs. 365 crore and disposed of over 450 cases since its inception in January last year, said its Presiding Officer D. Stanley David.

With jurisdiction over 14 districts — Madurai, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Virudhunagar, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Theni, Erode, Salem, Namakkal, Tiruchi, Karur and Dindigul — the DRT not only facilitated bank in recovering their non-performing assets (NPA) but also provided a platform for borrowers to air their grievances, he said.

The DRT, which falls under the Union Finance Ministry (Banking Division), was established in many cities in the country, exclusively to recover bad or sticky loans.

Though there were initial hiccups on the procedures to be adopted in the process of recovery soon after its formation, the Central Government amended them in such a way that the banks were provided adequate support.

The effective disposal of cases filed before the DRT helped banks to keep their NPA level well under control, a senior executive of a public sector bank said.

Earlier, many banks had difficulty in recovering their long-term loans and other advances made to borrowers as the legal process took time in disposal of cases.

However, the exclusive system of opening up DRTs and laws such as the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (SARFAESI) Act had kept the NPA well under 5 per cent, he asserted.

A litigant in Madurai said that the DRT’s positive approach helped him settle the debt to a bank and come out of a financial mess with some pride.

Lok Adalats

Mr. David said that they conducted three Lok Adalats in the past 18 months in which they recovered nearly Rs. 10 crore from as many as 44 cases. “We plan to conduct another Lok Adalat soon,” he said.

Some of the officials at the DRT said that despite a staff shortage, they had a check on the pendency level.

A few advocates said that the role of the DRT had to be lauded, especially in cases when bankers did not cooperate with borrowers in settlement under the One-Time-Settlement offered by the Reserve Bank of India.