Rasulpur: The state government has launched Balaram Yojana (Bhoomihina Agriculturist Loan and Resources Augmentation Model) to provide crop loans to landless farmers, a report said.
However, the scheme has failed to take off due to various conditions laid down in the scheme to provide crop loans and the restrictions imposed by the banks, the report said. As a result, sharecroppers and landless farmers who lack resources to carry out agricultural activities have failed to avail loan under the scheme.
The matter has been reported from Rasulpur block where agriculture officials have failed to implement the scheme in over 80 per cent panchayats.
Reports said the block has 28 panchayats. However, Agriculture officials have so far managed to form only one joint liability group on the basis of guidelines comprising 14 families of landless cultivators in five panchayats.
They are Rajendrapur, Samantarapur, Bandhadiha, Singhapur and Mugupala panchayats. What is worse is that it took around a year for them to form the joint liability group. The delay has sparked concern among the Agriculture department officials working in the grassroots level.
Sources said the scheme was launched in the state, July 6, 2020. The banks have been directed to provide loans to the landless families. The Agriculture department was directed to form one group each in every village comprising five families of landless cultivators.
The aim of the scheme is to provide a minimum of Rs 50,000 and maximum of Rs 1.6 lakh as loan to each group. The village level Agriculture workers and Krushak Sathis are required to form the group. Accordingly, groups have been formed in the block but the banks have decided to provide loans only to 14 groups.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture officials have failed to form groups in several panchayats as it has become difficult for them to get landless farmer families. Moreover, the banks are verifying the loan transaction records of the group members before sanctioning loans.
A member of the group is declared ineligible for a loan if he has defaulted in repayment of any previous loan. As a result, for a single person the whole group suffers in availing the loan.
Moreover, the landless farmers provide the details of the land (khata and plot numbers) they are cultivating without the consent of the landowners while applying for the loan. This results in face-off between the two following which the landowners lodge complaints against the concerned farmers. As a result, it becomes difficult for a group to get a loan and, in most cases, the loan is declined to the group.
This apart, a bank declines a loan to the group if a loan on the land which he has mentioned in the application is outstanding on the landowner.
The Sharecropper Act has also been violated in the scheme. The rule mandates that the landowner who has more than 10 acres of farmland can hand over his land to landless farmer in getting a loan.
Landless farmers have demanded to simplify the loan process under the scheme and to make provision of loan to individual farmers instead of a group.
When contacted, Bhagydhar Sahu, Block Agriculture Officer, said that every attempt is being made to make the scheme a success in the block as per rules framed by the government.