Belagavi: Farmers took part in 'Axis Bank Hathao' movement as the bank attempted to file cases against farmers for non-payment of loans, despite Karnataka government's order of farm loan waiver.  

A case against Belagavi farmer brought the issue to the fore. The HD Kumaraswamy government has announced that the loans of farmers will be waived off and the government had also asked banks not to take any punitive measures against farmers.

But neglecting the state government's order, Axis Bank had slapped cases against 140 farmers. When the request did not work, farmers staged protests throughout Karnataka and warned to shut the doors of Axis Bank and to send them out of Karnataka.

In August, Karnataka government announced that it will waive off Rs 30,163 crore loan of small and medium scale farmers.

When the stir was intensified and farmers gathered in front of Axis Banks in various taluks in the state, Axis Bank decided to react.

“Our bank through its branches has extended various credit facilities to farmers, who have borrowed money for their agricultural/farm related activities. In accordance with the laws of the land, legal proceedings were initiated almost six months ago following failure of loan repayment by the farmers. The bank has also been working towards an amicable loan repayment process through a one-time settlement schedule and would like to encourage the farmers to avail this opportunity. We are cognisant of the notification issued by the government of Karnataka on the loan waiver scheme and shall be aligned with the state government and the SLBC directives in this regard. Needless to say, the interests of the farmers are of utmost priority and the bank will work with the government of Karnataka to resolve the matter in the best interests of all parties concerned,” said Sadashiva Mallya, regional branch banking head - south, Axis Bank.

Thus, speaking to Suvarna News, senior Manager of  Axis Bank, Rajkumar has clarified that 140 cases filed against the farmers will be withdrawn from the court.

But as it is a legal procedure and there are  holidays for Diwali, the bank manager has promised to withdraw cases soon after Diwali holidays.

Karnataka farmers association and Hasiru Sene state president Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said, "Farmers will not keep quiet against this move of Axis Bank. You will be allowed to transact in Karnataka, only if you are  courteous to the people of the state. Else, we will fight till you are out of business and are driven out of the state."

"Chief minister has sought time from the banks to repay the farmers loans waived off by the government. We are not in need of banks that do not even respect the chief minister's words," he further said.

Farmers have also planned to take the case of Axis Bank to the national-level farmers conference scheduled to be held in Delhi on November 30. They are planning to propose a decision against Axis Bank. Thus, the agitation against the bank will be intensified  on a national scale too.

Farmers to pressurise government:

Speaking to media, Karnataka state sugarcane growers association president Kurubur Shanthakumar told that these confusions are the result of government delaying in sending out an official circular about the loan waiver to banks. If the government does not take immediate action, farmers might consider laying siege to Vidhana Soudha, he said.

He requested the chief minister to take action regarding the same and to release the official order  on loan waiver soon.