BJP demands withdrawal of SBI's suspension of farm equipment loan

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New Delhi, May 20 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party today demanded immediate withdrawal of State Bank of India's circular suspending new loans for buying tractors and other farm equipment.

The decision has reportedly been prompted by the rising bad loans, with one senior SBI official saying "our tractor loans now amount to around Rs 7,000 crore and 15 per cent of which has become NPAs".

Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the SBI circular has heightened their apprehension that the UPA government was not serious in implementing the Rs 60,000 crore waiver-cum-one-time-settlement of farm loan scheme announced in the Union Budget.

He said it is surprising that the circular, while suspending fresh loans, at the same time directed the bank officials across the country to get in touch with distressed borrowers through tractor dealers asking them to take benefit of debt relief scheme.

Claiming that such a ciruclar could not have been issued without a nod by the ruling establishment, the BJP leader said stopping fresh financing of loans would only cripple bonafide farming activity.

UNI SAA AKJ US1744

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