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`Centre has provided refinance'

By Our Staff Reporter

THANJAVUR, NOV. 23. The Union Minister of State for Finance, S.S. Palani Manickam, today refuted the statement made by the Tamil Nadu Minister, R.Vaithilingam, that the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) had not given single paise to cooperative banks and affirmed that it had released funds.

(Mr. Vaithilingam, addressing co-operative week celebrations here on Saturday, said there was no truth in Mr. Palani Manickam's statement that the NABARD had provided funds to cooperative banks for disbursal of crop loans.)

Mr. Palani Manickam told presspersons here that though water was released from the Mettur dam, the State Government had not taken steps to provide cooperative loans. `On the advice of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, M. Karunanidhi, and in consultation with the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, I took up the issue with the NABARD and got the amounts released.'

Sanction limit

This year the NABARD had given a sanction limit to cooperative banks in Tamil Nadu to the tune of Rs. 1,121 crores for short-term agriculture operations. Of this, a sanction limit of Rs. 500 crores was given to 15 District Central Cooperative banks, and Rs. 121 crores to six banks — in Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, the Nilgiris, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar — as a special case to restore their lost eligibility. A sanction limit for another Rs. 500 crores was given for providing liquidity support to the needy banks.

The NABARD had released Rs. 392 crores out of this sanctioned limit and Rs. 120 crores would be released soon. For the Thanjavur Central Cooperative Bank Rs. 6 crores had been released and for the Kumbakonam Central Cooperative Bank Rs. 9 crores till October. ``Providing refinance to cooperative banks is the Centre's duty and it is the duty of the State Government to utilise the amount,'' he said.

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