Postponement of spl loan waiver package disappoints growers

Postponement of spl loan waiver package disappoints growers

Furore over Womens Reservation Bill has deferred secretarial-level meet on the issue to April

Postponement of spl loan waiver package disappoints growers

The postponement has further discouraged the coffee growers who have already suffered a lot due to fluctuations in climate, production and market prices, and the continued problem of labour shortage.

Since the Secretarial-level meeting which was ought to be held on March 8 was postponed to April due to the furore over Women’s Reservation Bill, the implementation of the coffee loan waiver package may be delayed further.

The then Union Commerce Minister Kamalnath had announced Rs 504 crore special coffee loan waiver package to relieve the growers from the crisis in 2008. But there have been hundreds of hurdles for its implementation from the moment it was announced.

In the meantime, because of the demand that even the estate purchase loans should be waived off, the package has been revised to Rs 802.47 crore.

According to a coffee grower, large number of growers are lobbying through the MPs and the Union ministers to include estate purchase loans in the waiver package. The pressure is to include Rs 153 crore amount in the waiver package, i.e., the total amount of loans taken by 83 large growers.

Howver, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee disagreed to include the amount in the loan package, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituted a panel comprising secretaries of Finance, Planning and Commerce to give a report on how much can be included in the package. The meeting of the panel was to be held on March 8, but it got deferred.

“We have no objection to implement the Rs 802 crore package, but let them implement the Rs 504 crore package first,” this is the demand of small growers. The coffee growers had held a Kodagu bundh in October, and observed black day on the Republic Day.
The calculation of the Centre is that if it proceeded with the proposal of waiving off even the estate purchase loans, it may have to yield to the pressure of rubber, tea estate owners in the later days.

Hence, the growers  believe, the government is delaying the process.