Mayawati to Centre: Waive off loans in drought-hit regions

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Lucknow, Jan 14 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has urged the Centre to waive off loans of Rs 2,797 crore in the drought affected Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal regions of the state.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday, Ms Mayawati said along with waiver of loans, the centre should immediately consider for a financial package of Rs 7016 crore demanded earlier by the state.

Underlining UP government's commitment to the cause of poor farmers and weaker sections, the CM said a series of steps had already been initiated in the nine drought-hit districts.

The BSP government had already released about Rs 400 crore from the Calamity Relief Fund in these districts for various relief measures, she said.

Ms Mayawati said recommendations had been made to the Centre for immediately initiating process of waiving off the agriculture advances made to farmers in the drought affected districts.

''In order to tackle the grievances of farmers' indebtedness to informal sources such as moneylenders, pawnbrokers and traders were suggested that banks may be directed to step in immediately to provide comprehensive debt relief to the affected people,'' she added.

In the letter, she had suggested that the interest rate on agricultural loans should be kept at three per cent and the Centre must subsidise the balance portion of the interest.

The CM said as the impact of drought coupled with general economic backwardness in these regions is accentuating the misery of the farmers, it is proposed that a comprehensive longterm development plan along with funding mechanism and the strategy for its execution at the ground level may also be formulated without wasting time.

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