Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala, which faced the worst deluge in 100 years in August last year, resulting in severe crop loss, on Tuesday decided to seek extension of moratorium on farmers loans till December 31.
The decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of state officials and State Level Banker's Committee (SLBC), which met here on Tuesday.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan , who attended the meeting, said the state would approach the Reserve Bank, seeking extension of the moratorium.
In the SLBC meet, Vijayan urged the banks to be more considerate and make things less complicated for the farmers availing agricultural loans.
"Banks must accept the reality and should avoid technicality when it comes to matters regarding the sufferings of farmers.
Banks have a social responsibility to support those who are financially backward in the society," Vijayan said in a Facebook post.
He said the state had borne the brunt of multiple natural calamities in the last two years.
"Due to these natural calamities, we sought to extend the moratorium of farmers loans till December 31 this year. However, it seems like RBI was not favour of our demand," Vijayan said.
Today's meeting assumed significance as SLBC had put out an advertisement a few days back, stating that recovery procedures on those who had defaulted on farmers loans would be held.
The advertisement had stated that RBI guidelines have to be followed by all banks and the moratorium would end on July 31.
State Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar and Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had lashed out at SLBC's advertisement, saying banks had waived loans of corporates, but were not prepared to extend the moratorium on farmers' loans.
Eighteen debt ridden farmers, who were unable to pay off their farm loan dues had committed suicide in the past one and half years in Kerala after banks began recovery procedures.