Merger trend spreads to cooperatives in Kaski

- LAL PRASAD SHARMA, Pokhara
Eight cooperatives have merged so far and another dozen are planning to do so

Jul 18, 2016-The merger trend has spread to Kaski with many cooperatives operating with a low capital base in a small area deciding to amalgamate. 

According to the Division Cooperative Office, eight cooperatives have merged and another dozen are planning to do so. There are 616 cooperatives in Kaski. Among them, 338 are savings and credit cooperatives. 

The trend started with Dipang Maidi Fishery Cooperative and Chakradevi Cooperative based in Lekhnath merging to become Chakradevi Multipurpose Cooperative.

Kahu-based Kahu Deurali and Sahara Savings and Credit Cooperative have also combined. Sampurna Sana Kisan and Sana Kisan Cooperative from Purunchaur are other cooperatives that have merged.

Bharat Pokhari-based Paluwa Cooperative and Pokhara-based Garima Savings and Credit Cooperative have also merged, according to the Division Cooperative Office.

“A low capital base and compulsion to be confined in a small area drove us to consolidate,” said Tulka Raj Acharya, chairman of Paluwa Savings and Credit Cooperative.

According to him, many of the members were the same in both the institutions, as a result, there was little opportunity to expand investments without merging. 

“So we held talks and went for a merger,” said Acharya, adding that the merger had increased the scope of work for the merged entity. The merged cooperative is headquartered at Bharat Pokhari, Lekhnath-17 and maintains a branch at New Road, Pokhara. 

There has been a rise in mergers of cooperatives in many parts of the country after the Department of Cooperatives (DoC) issued the Working Procedure on Merger in 2013 which offered a number of incentives to cooperatives that merged. 

The working procedure was published when the DoC was having a hard time regulating cooperatives due to their sheer number. 

There are more than 32,000 cooperatives registered with the department, and a majority of them are savings and credit cooperatives. The DoC has been struggling to monitor them with limited manpower and technical skills. 

“The growth in the number of cooperatives going for merger is a positive thing,” said Badrinath Adhikari, chief of the Division Cooperative Office. “Merger is taking place based on consensus among the members of different cooperatives,” he said. 

According to him, mergers have contributed to removing dual membership and members of cooperatives have come to understand that it is better to become a general member of a big cooperative instead of a top official of a small cooperative.

Officer at the Division Cooperative Office Bal Krishna Subedi said that the reduced number of cooperatives following the spate of mergers would make it easier for the regulator to supervise them.

Hari Bhakta Poudel, vice-president of the District Cooperative Association, expressed hope that cooperatives would operate as per established norms following their merger.

Published: 18-07-2016 10:13

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