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In Photo: A village submerged by the early August floods in Bengal. File Photo courtesy: @AITCofficial

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 13 August: Bengal government on Thursday urged all nationalised banks to grant a moratorium on farm loan interests and extend the time frame for repayment of loans taken by the farmers in the districts affected by the recent floods.

Furthermore, Bengal has requested the banks to release fresh loans of up to Rs 10,000 to individual farmers in the state without insisting on collateral.

Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra chaired a special meet of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) at state secretariat Nabanna Thursday afternoon, wherein he put forward the request to the representatives of various nationalised banks present.

Representatives of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) also attended the meet.

Mr Mitra urged the banks to grant a moratorium on farm loan interests for at least a year and extend the time frame for scheduled repayment of agriculture loan by up to seven years from the usual deadline, which is three years. The minister requested similar relief by the banks for artisans in the flood affected districts.

The request comes a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday submitted a Rs 21,000 crore flood rehab proposal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi that included writing off farm loans of the affected farmers.

Referring to this, Mr Mitra said the request made today to the nationalised banks was aimed at facilitating an immediate relief to the distressed farmers until the Centre agrees to write off the loans for good.

According to him over 12 lakh hectares of farmland in 12 Bengal districts with standing crops have been damaged in the floods that hit the state in the first week of August.