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4,437 mining dependants got relief under scheme


PANAJI: As the mining dependants get ready to start their protests at  the Ram Leela Maidan and the Jantar Mantar in the national capital, it has come to light that 4,437 barge owners, truck and machinery operators have received relief from the state government under  the mining debt relief scheme.

The scheme, which writes off loans taken by mining borrowers from banks and financial institutions, disbursed Rs 93.3 crore of funds, said B S Borkar, general manager (loans), EDC, which is the implementing agency of the scheme.

He said that maximum of relief was given to truckers who accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the disbursal while, barge and machinery owners made up for the remaining 16 per cent and four per cent respectively.

“Nearly 50 per cent of the debt was owed by the borrowers to nationalised banks, 37 per cent to co-operative banks and 13 per cent to financial institutions,” Borkar said adding that the scheme has another 255 applications involving an outstanding loan amount of Rs 15.8 crore, although the scheme has been at its fag end.

It means that Rs 108 crore will be spent by the government in paying off the debt of mining borrowers.

As per the term of the debt relief scheme launched in September 2014, banks (lenders) have to write off 40 per cent of truck loans and 30 per cent of barge loans. The government would chip in with 30 per cent and mining borrowers will have to pay the remaining amount of the loan.

However, former president of the Goa Barge Owners Association Atul Jadhav said that barge owners have not been able to arrange  30 per cent of their ‘contributions’, and  which is why there are pending applications.

“We are not getting fresh loans from banks because our credit track record is spoiled. Some of us have taken loans from private sector banks at 20 per cent interest rate to avail the debt relief scheme,” he claimed.

The scheme received one more extension recently with March 31 2019 being the new deadline.

The notification signed by mines director Prasanna Acharya says the extension is only for debt recast of those people whose applications are pending with the banks or those which had been rejected earlier.

“It is the last extension that the government will grant, and the final authority to grant the benefit in exceptional cases that have been rejected would lie with the Chief Minister,” says the notification.

In all, the government received 4,818 applications for debt recast received under the scheme from the mining stakeholders, of which 126 applications have been rejected.

Borrowers are hopeful that even the rejected applications get cleared for relief from banks, which have been badgering for repayment.

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