Puttur, Jul 12: A large scale protest was held in front of Nelyady Service Cooperative Bank at Nelyady in the taluk on Monday July 11, against the bank’s measures to auction the lands of farmers who default in repayment of their loans. The protest was led by Karnataka Rjya Raita Sangha and Kissan Sene. The auction was conducted by South Canara District Central Cooperative Bank sales officer, Vishwanath Gowda, president of the bank, Umesh Shettipatte, secretary, M R Yedapadithaya, and other office bearers of the bank.
The situation turned tense as the bank’s members resisted the protestors. The policemen had to use force to disperse the crowds, to ensure that the situation does not go out of control.
Chennappa Kannada, a member of Kaukdray gram panchayat, had availed of a loan of Rs 37,500 from this bank, of which Rs 25,000 had been waived as per the government scheme. As Kannada refused to repay the balance amount of Rs 22,000 inclusive of up-to-date interest, the bank issued him notices and auctioned 45 cents land out of two acres and five cents he possesses, to recover its dues. The land was acquired by the highest bidder, Janardan from Nelyady, for Rs 2.40 lac. About 25 bidders expressed interest in the process.
The protestors numbering about 60, led by Kanagal Murthy, squatted in front of the bank and said they would not budge from there unless the auction, which they said was held illegally, was cancelled. The protestors did not heed to requests made by additional superintendent of police, Prabhakar, assistant commissioner, Dr Harish Kumar and tahsildar, Dase Gowda, to end their protest. The officials clarified that the auction process cannot be cancelled as it has been concluded, and suggested the farmer concerned to go on an appeal in the court, or offered to take the issue before the deputy commissioner.
A large number of farmer members of the bank, who had outnumbered the protestors, alleged that Raita Sangha has been trying to close down their bank, which was built with their efforts. After the tussle between the people who were supporting the bank and the protestors turned physical, the police had to cane the crowd to bring back normalcy.