Responsible borrowers feel cheated by waiver

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Mangalore, May 17:  It’s not all smiles after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced waiving the loans taken by backward classes and minorities. Though around 15,000 people are set to benefit in the district, officials in the three corporations involved in this announcement said they have been flooded with angry calls from those who have paid back their loans.

According to figures furnished by the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Development Corporation, around Rs. 1.27 crore will be waived, benefiting 1,093 persons in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category. A majority of the loans, coming up to 740 SC persons and 104 Koragas (under a special plan for them), are taken from the ISB (Industries, Services, Business) scheme, which allows for a low-interest loan for starting businesses or buying equipment.

Though officials remained tight-lipped at the Karnataka Minority Development Corporation (KMDC), which has been asked by the Managing Director to keep figures under wraps till the official announcement, sources estimated that around 6,400 people still have “live accounts” and with more than Rs. 5 crore unpaid loans. Similar numbers are quoted, unofficially, by those from the D. Devaraja Urs Backward Classes Development Corporation.

While the Ambedkar Corporation had seen a waiver in 2006, this was the first time the Minorities and the Backward Classes Corporations were seeing a waiver. Because of this, said officials, the phones have been off the hook with some beneficiaries asking if the loan they had paid back will be refunded.

No official word

However, with no official notice – the government has to send a notice to the department headquarters and then it has to be sent to district offices – authorities are as uncertain as the callers.

Until March, over Rs. 2.06 crore had been returned by beneficiaries to the Minorities Corporation. “Every month we get around Rs. 17 lakh back for loans taken from five schemes. Many had closed their accounts before the financial year. One student had paid Rs. 30,000 to clear out his loan under the Arivu scheme. They are all calling now to ask if their payments could be returned or why we could not inform them of the waiver during the closing of the account,” said an official there, adding that payments had stopped since the announcement.

Mohammad Abdulla, an agent who coordinates KMDC schemes in Belthangady, came to the office in Mangalore to enquire. “A lot of people have called me to confirm the waiver or asking for the money they had repaid. I don’t have the answers and that is why I have come,” he said. However, with authorities saying that the official order had not yet come, Mr. Abdulla returned with few answers.

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