J&K Bank conducts special SLBC meeting; Resolves relief package to flood-hit borrowers

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Srinagar: In a significant development, the rehabilitation and relief process in flood-hit areas is likely to receive a shot in the arm as banks operating in Jammu and Kashmir are going for restructuring of loans and advances granted in the State. The banks would be sanctioning additional loan facilities to the affected borrowers at concessional rate of interest, besides granting extension in loan repayment with moratorium period, officials said.
Moreover, the banks would be funding interest on existing loan facilities and also converting part of existing working capital facilities granted to the affected borrowers into Working Capital Term Loan. All these relief measures would be implemented in a “mission mode.”
This was resolved at a special state level bankers committee (SLBC) meeting held on Tuesday at Jammu. The meeting was convened and chaired by the J&K Bank chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Mushtaq Ahmad. Notably J&K Bank is Convenor of the JKSLBC.
The special meeting was convened for taking stock of the post-flood situation in J&K, especially in the Kashmir Valley and devise “suitable relief, rehabilitation and revival measures in the affected areas.”
Mushtaq Ahmad, Chairman & CEO J&K Bank, briefed the participants about the scale of unprecedented devastation caused in the affected areas and highlighted the purpose and rationale of the special SLBC meeting. He disclosed that devastation in Kashmir Valley was of serious nature and since the business of the J&K State is interdependent, the commercial losses in Kashmir will have an adverse impact on business in Jammu. “As such, the borrowers of all the banks, banking with different banks in the state need immediate relief & rehabilitation to re-start their economic venture/business at the earliest,” he said.
He also informed the house that a meeting with Ministry of Finance, Government of India and IBA was held on 22.09.2014 and it has been assured that all required help and support will be provided to the affected people through banking channels and applicable relief measures. He cautioned that the conditions prevailing in the State of J&K are a major challenge for the banking fraternity and expressed optimism that despite hardships of damage to the banking premises, ATMs, loss of connectivity and other associated issues, the banking fraternity will rise to the occasion and ensure normalcy of operations at the earliest.
Ahmad appreciated the role demonstrated by every member of banking fraternity in ensuring “fast restoration” of banking facilities and mitigating the sufferings of the people at large by re-establishing banking operations. “In J&K more than Rs 33000 crore has been advanced by different banks to various sectors of economy. I am optimistic that the forum will take stock of the seriousness and gravity of the situation and ensure that no effort is spared for mitigating the sufferings of the people,” he said.
The meeting was, among others, attended by Shantamanu, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, K K Saraf, Regional Director Reserve Bank of India, S A Pandey, Chief General Manager, NABARD, A K Dogra, Deputy Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Government of India, Visheweshar, Advisor, Indian Banks Association, Showkat Aijaz, Director Finance, J&K Government, Parvez Ahmad and Abdul Hamid Banday, Executive Presidents of J&K Bank. Other participants included Mahapatra, Chief General Manager, SBI and Dr Rakesh Gupta General Manager PNB and senior representatives of RBI, NABARD and Commercial banks operating in the State.
Shantamanu informed the house that the survey for assessing the damage is underway.
A K Dogra emphasized on the banks to expeditiously put in place a suitable mechanism for the rehabilitation and economic revival of the people.
Showkat Aijaz, Director Finance, J&K, informed the house that barring districts of Leh and Kargil, the State Government has decided to declare calamity in all remaining 20 districts of the State.
K K Saraf, Regional Director, RBI stressed on restoration of full banking services in the valley.
Meanwhile, it was further decided to constitute a sub-committee of SLBC for monitoring implementation of relief measures by banks and suggesting resolution of issues that may arise from time to time. “It was also resolved to forward the recommendations of SLBC to RBI, IBA, Department of Financial Services, Government of India and State Government for required approvals,” officials said.

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