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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: With the tenure of management committees of 1,926 primary cooperative societies ending in January 2020, Odisha government has decided to postpone the election to such committees to shore up the financial condition of loss-hit societies.

As per reports, the financial condition of these cooperative societies has turned out to be a headache for the government as most of them have been hit hard by losses. Even State Co-operation Minister, Ranendra Pratap Swain has acknowledged the issue.

“Term of 1,926 cooperative societies is ending this month so we are going to put govt officials in-charge of the societies. Before polls, we have to set the financial position right. Societies in all the districts are saddled with problems,” said Swain.

After the completion of tenure of the cooperative societies, cooperative inspectors will be given the responsibility to look after the managing committees.

In a letter written to the State Cooperation department, the Registrar of Cooperative Societies has highlighted that there are huge imbalances in loan amount at PACS (Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies) and LAMPCS (Large Area Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies) vis-a-vis CCBs.

"Among many reasons, the most important reason is delay in receipt of interest incentive/subvention and charging-of interest by the CCBs during this delay period and passing of this financial burden to PACs/LAMPCS by the CCBs," the letter cited.

In 2016-17, the imbalance in loan amount was Rs 1,082.66 crore, Rs 1,382.12 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 1,822.21 crore in 2018 -19 amounting to a total of nearly Rs 4,286 crore in three years.

"Since, PACS/LAMPCS are discharging government programme of credit to farmers, the government should bear this financial burden. In order to make PACS/LAMPCS viable and to save them from collapse, it is proposed that the government should compensate the loss through Budgetary support," the Registrar of Cooperative Societies urged in his letter.

“Many lower level PACS have not received their incentives. We are taking time to resolve the loan imbalance issue. After the completion of all the audits, we will come to a conclusion,” said the Cooperation Minister.

On the other hand, irregularities at the Kendrapara Urban Cooperative Bank have also stoked concerns. As many as 12 employees of the bank were found to have been illegally recruited following which the Registrar had written a letter to the concerned department, but reportedly no action has been taken so far.

“Based on the inquiry, a government order was given to disengage 12 employees, but as it will affect banking operations, another letter has been written to reconsider the decision,” said Sushil Samal, CEO of Kendrapara Urban Cooperative Bank.

 

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