Mamata sees centre’s hand in banks denying loans to poor

Jhilimili (West Bengal), March 20 (IANS) Accusing some banks of refusing loans to the poor and workers of self-help groups in her state at the behest of the central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday said it was shameful such people were being “harassed” for their political colour.

“Some banks at the instruction of the central government are refusing loans to poor people and even to workers with various self-help groups. They (the banks) must remember that it is public money. It is not the money of the Congress, CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Trinamool Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party. Such an attitude is unfortunate,” Banerjee said at a function in this remote area of Bankura district.
Apparently targeting former ally Congress, which heads the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre, she said: “If some party feels that it will harass poor people who prefer the Trinamool, then that is wrong.”
She termed as “shameful” the harassment of workers of self-help groups and said she would lodge a formal complaint with the central government.
“In Andhra Pradesh, they (banks) offer 39 percent to 47 percent loan to self-help groups while in Bengal, the figure is only three percent,” she said.