'File rejoinder on non-waiver of farm loans'

The High Court on Monday directed the Union government to file a rejoinder regarding its decision to not waive the loan of arecanut farmers in Chikmagalur, Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada and other parts of Western Ghats in the State.

Hearing a contempt plea by Sachin Meega, Vice President, KPCC Kissan Cell and a Chikmagalur-based arecanut grower, a Division Bench comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice Suri Appa Rao directed the Assistant Solicitor General, Kalyan Basavaraj, to file a rejoinder after the Centre submitted an affidavit that “the loan waiver scheme for arecanut growers was not agreed by the government.”

In the affidavit, sworn by Jitendra Kumar Mohan, Under Secretary, Department of Financial Service, the Centre submitted that after the High Court issued a direction on September 25, 2009 to take action based on Dr Gorakh Singh committee report regarding loan waiver to arecanut growers, the State Land Bank Committee (SLBC), Karnataka, issued notices to 51,694 people who had availed the loans.

The Centre also stated that 50,664 loans were rescheduled to the tune of Rs 144.23 crore and interest worth Rs 3.35 crore had been waived. As many as 4,680 crop loans,  which account for an aggregate sum of Rs 31.63 crore had been converted into term loans.

The affidavit also stated that Centre had no intention of disobeying the court’s order. The Centre had genuinely taken proactive action to address the plight of arecanut growers, the affidavit said and sought dismissal of the contempt petition filed against R S Gujral, Secretary, Union Ministry of Finance.

The then Chief Justice, Vikramajit Sen, and Justice B V Nagarathana had directed the Union Ministry of Finance to consider the recommendations of loan waiver of arecanut growers affected by yellow leaf disease — as recommended by the Union Commissioner of Horticulture in his report in respect of the three districts.

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