Bank rejects land near border as collateral

- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Apr 20, 2015-

Dev Singh Thapa, a farmer of Belauriya 14, Kanchanpur, was refused a loan by his bank because the land he had offered as collateral is situated close to the border with India. Thapa had applied for credit from the Agricultural Development Bank to cultivate sugarcane.

Another farmer Dilli Raj Panta, 70, of Belauri had asked to borrow Rs250,000 to start a sugarcane farm and had received the same response from the bank.

“The bank said that they wouldn’t issue a loan against land located near the Indian border,” Panta said. “We have taken loans in the past and have repaid them too. However, now the bank has refused to accept the same piece of land as security.”

According to Pant, the partly state-owned bank had made a policy of not accepting land lying within 500 metres of  the border as collateral. “We are paying land taxes. However, we cannot use it to get a loan,” Panta said.

According to Lila Dhar Bhatta, branch manager of the Agricultural Development Bank, Mahendra Nagar, the bank has a policy of not issuing loans against land situated close to rivers or international borders.

Most of the people living in the area from Beladli VDC in the north to Belauri which lies close to the Indian border are ex-soldiers. In 1971, king Mahendra had distributed land to former military personnel from the hills in a bid to “increase security” along the country’s borders.

“Ex-soldiers from the hills had settled in places like Jhilmila, Bhuda, Pachui, Calcutta and Baishaka,” said Tikaram Panta, 70, who had shifted to the border region from Darchula in 1971.

“So this is the reward we have received for protecting the border region from encroachment,” said Thapa sarcastically. He had moved to the region in 1971 along with Panta. “We stood firm and protected the land when everybody was running away from the border region,” Thapa said.   

The Ministry of Agriculture has been offering cheap loans in several places in the country to develop the agro sector.

However, farmers in the bordering regions have not been able to benefit from this facility. As a result, they said they had been forced to borrow money from other sources in the village at a high rate of interest.

Meanwhile, Bir Singh Thapa, a former soldier, said that India’s Border Security Force (SSB) had been giving trouble to the farmers too.

 

Published: 21-04-2015 10:15

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