Govt converts agriculture loan for flood victims

Bhubaneswar: Announcing that it would not seek repayment of agriculture loan from farmers hit by flood and drought this year, the Orissa government today decided to convert short term farm loan to medium term loan in order to help peasants. The decision was taken at a stock taking meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here, officials said.

The farmers in the state had been hit by dual calamities like drought and floods during 2011. This apart, the government has also decided to reduce rate of interest on the medium term agriculture loans from 9 per cent to 5 per cent, said revenue and disaster management

minister S N Patro adding the farmers would repay their loans within a period of three years. However, the farmers who repay their loans on time, would avail an additional benefit of reduced interest rate by 2 more per cent, he said.

The state government would have to bear a burden of Rs 200 crore towards conversion of agriculture loan terms and reduction in the rate of interests on farmers. Among other decisions, the chief minister directed the water resources department to renovate 1,000 lift irrigation projects at a cost of Rs 65 crore.

"The farmers will also be distributed 30,000 diesel pump sets at a subsidised price," Patro said adding farmers would be provided with subsidised groundnut seeds and other seeds for the ensuing rabi crop.