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India

Legal options sought to end impasse

The State government is exploring legal and political options for ending the impasse over the merger of the Malappuram District Cooperative Bank with the Kerala State Cooperative Bank to ease the hurdles in the formation of Kerala Bank.

The government has sought expert legal opinion to bring around the sole district bank that has turned down on political grounds the merger scheme put forward by the government.

While the director board headed by the United Democratic Front (UDF) continues to remain obstinate, a majority of the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies and other cooperative societies functioning under the purview of the bank and its employees are understood to be mounting pressure on the UDF leadership to retract from its stated position against Kerala Bank and become part of the merger process at the earliest.

Political consensus

An attempt to evolve a political consensus to end the stalemate too is being attempted. The bank director board and the UDF leadership would have to cave into the pressure from the employees and societies and would not be able to overlook the legal issues involved in abstaining from the merger for long, sources said.

The proposed bank is expected to be a panacea to the problems being faced by scores of small and medium business houses, traders, and other entrepreneurs who are being made to wait endlessly for getting their loan applications cleared, even after completing the procedures mandated by nationalised banks.

Merger of banks initiated at the behest of the Central government and constriction of powers of the officers of such banks to clear loan applications have all seriously impacted lending in agriculture and micro, small, and medium enterprises, sources said.

For all segments

The proposed Kerala Bank that would have all the paraphernalia to cater to all segments of customers is being projected as a regimen to address such issues.

More importantly, the cooperative movement with a strong pan-Kerala presence has already proved its prowess in initiating schemes for the poor and the needy.

The project for constructing houses for the flood victims is being cited as an example.

The merger would help muster the fiscal capacity to venture into more such socially relevant projects for the marginalised sections once the new entity comes into being, sources said.

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