Drought issue: Odisha seeks Jaitley’s intervention to release fund from NABARD

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday sought the intervention of union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to advice NABARD to sanction Rs. 1300 crores in favour of Odisha State Cooperative Bank so that the farmers are not put into inconvenience in such a drought situation prevailing in the state.

In a letter to Jaitley, the Chief Minister said the state government has decided to provide fresh loans to the farmers in the drought affected areas without recovering the loans advanced during Khariff, 2015.

He said the cooperative banks in the state have been playing a pivotal role in the dispensation of crop loans as around 70 percent of the credit for the purpose is provided by these organisations.

Informing that the resources of the cooperative banks are limited, and they depend on upon NABARD refinance for the purpose, he said NABARD refinance essentially required to enable the cooperative banks led by the Odisha State Cooperative Bank to cope with the credit requirements of the drought affected the farming community.

“As I understand, against the programme of Rs. 10,000 crores for disbursement of crop loans by the cooperative banks, NABARD has sanctioned a refinance limit of Rs.3200 crores only. Although the policy of NABARD stipulates that 45 percent of the crop loans to be provided by the cooperative banks should come as refinance from them to the Odisha State Cooperative Bank, the limit sanctioned falls short of Rs. 1300 crores against eligibility norms stipulated by NABARD,” said the Chief Minister.

He also informed that the chief secretary has already written a letter to the NABARD Chairman on November 7, but no response has been received so far.

Notably, the drought condition prevalent in Odisha has caused extensive damage to the Khariff crops in 215 out of 314 blocks in the state.