It has now been revealed that the President’s statement that repayment of loans taken by farmers for cultivation has been stopped due to the destruction of paddy land by the drought is yet another lie.
The government stated that a scheme had been initiated to provide relief to farmers affected by the droughts in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. However, it is revealed that the statement was made targeting the provincial council election and that farmers in these areas have not received any form of relief.
Over 235,000 farmers have applied for compensation from the Agrarian Services Department. Farmers believe that the President’s statement is a lie since the banks have deducted the monies taken for loans through the farmers’ insurance scheme that was presented by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena at the Pulathisi Mandapaya in Polonnaruwa.
Minister Sirisena had given Rs. 15 million as insurance compensation for 700 farmers in Polonnaruwa at the event. Farmers say that their monies have been deducted by the banks when they had tried to cash the compensation provided to them. When the farmers had reminded the manager of the respective bank about the assurance given by the President, the bank manager had said the bank had not received the gazette notification issuing the relevant directive. Therefore, the bank has said the loan installment would be deducted.
Although Minister Sirisena had reprimanded the bank officials for deducting the loan installments, the banks have continued to take the installments.
The Minister has told some of friends that he was doubtful whether the statement made by the President about stopping the installments of bank loans taken by farmers was aimed at putting him in difficulty.