Waive loans of drought-hit farmers: HC to TN govt

Waive loans of drought-hit farmers: HC to TN govt

In a significant order, the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to waive loans of all drought-hit farmers and restrained cooperative societies and banks from recovering their dues.

It noted that the state’s financial situation was grim and it was single-handedly shouldering the debt burden in a drought year in which farmers were committing suicide and suggested that the Centre come forward to extend financial help to Tamil Nadu “during this difficult situation”.

A division bench comprising Justices S Nagamuthu and M V Muralidaran gave the order while allowing a petition by National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturists Association. “We are aware that the state’s financial situation is grim. The chief secretary, in her letter to the advocate general, also reiterated the same. The government is already single-handedly shouldering the burden of Rs 5,780 crore and it will be an additional burden to bear Rs 1,980.33 crore.”

In this difficult situation, the central government cannot be a silent spectator and should come forward to extend help to the state government, the court said. It directed the cooperation, food and consumer protection department and registrar of cooperative societies to extend the crop loan waiver scheme under two government orders of 2016, to all farmers, including those whose landholding was more than five acres. “We further direct the department to issue necessary consequential order extending the impugned scheme to all farmers. The order shall be issued within three months from today,” the bench said.

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