Checkbooks not issued for 2 years, farmers harassed: The Tribune India
Manmeet Singh Gill
Amritsar, March 19
Even though the government claims to provide easy credit to farmers through cooperative banks, many of them at the Nangli-Naushera Cooperative Society have complained that they have not received a check book for about two years.
The farmers claimed that although their accounts are clear and they have not been in default, they are unable to avail of the credit facility in the absence of checkbooks.
Jagmohan Singh, a farmer from Muradpura, said he had been going to the company office for two years but had failed to get the checkbooks.
Another farmer, Kuljit Singh from Malawali, said his account was also closed about two years ago. “I had accounts in two companies. After many years of successful transactions, my accounts have been closed on the grounds that I cannot use credit facilities from two companies.
Singh said he then asked relevant authorities to close an account and keep the Nangli branch account functional. He said he had recently lodged a complaint with the district manager of Amritsar Central Cooperative Society, for which he received no response. Many other farmers also reported that they had not received checkbooks.
Cooperative Bank sources revealed that the decision to withhold the advances was made informally after the infamous Tarsikka Cooperative Society fraud worth several crores. “The CRR (cash reserve ratio) which was almost 10% fell to half after the scam was exposed,” a source said.
It is claimed that advance payments to farmers were withheld in an effort to improve the financial health of the company. Sources claimed that in the Tarsikka Society scam, around Rs 15 crore was wasted.
District manager Paramjit Singh said, “I had joined about three months ago and only received one complaint so far.” He says he asked the manager of the company concerned for the answer and has already instructed them to reopen the account.
Singh said the new member farmer credit would be launched from April 1. While admitting the fraud had caused losses, he said the company’s financial health was improving and it was steadily extending credit to farmers.