Farmer suicides: Odisha govt in a quandary over who pocketed coop loans

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 6:

With more and more farmers committing suicides in the state, allegedly due to crop loss accompanied with loan burden and in majority of cases, their kin claiming that the deceased farmer had borrowed money from money lenders at high interest rates, the Odisha government is in a quandary as to where the whopping amount of Rs 5,067cr granted as loans to farmers this year through the Cooperation department go.



A worried Cooperation department which is at its wits end over the issue is racking its brain to find out as to where the money disbursed as loans through cooperative societies gone to if not to farmers.

The department is considering to entrust the difficult job to the Directorate of Economics and Statistics under the Planning & Coordination department —to find out where the money has gone, revealed a senior official of the Cooperation department.

On the other hand, a group has already begun efforts to sabotage the move for a probe. The group apprehends that if the probe takes place, it will be the ruling BJD which will end up in trouble.

As per reports a lion share of the Rs 5,067cr disbursed as loans has gone to the pockets of BJD workers. BJD workers have managed to usurp a major part of the money disbursed as cooperative loans into their pockets using dubious means and are scared of a probe that would spill the beans in the open of the cooperative loan scam.

Since the government is in panic about the scam going bust, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to take a call on the matter.

According to sources, the government is under pressure from the party not to dig deep into the issue.

Earlier, Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout had proposed the government for a probe into the matter and had also proposed for bringing some reforms in the loan disbursement process. However, the proposal has been put on the back burner.

According to a report by Cooperation department secretary Manoj Ahuja Rs 5067.51 cr has been disbursed to 17.27 lakh farmers in kharif season this year. The target for disbursement for the kharif season was however Rs 5500 cr. As per claims apart from this about Rs 2000 cr was disbursed through different nationalized banks.

The state government has announced that farmers will get three years to repay their borrowings. The decision is certainly going to benefit the BJD workers most rather than the farmers opine political analysts.



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