Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has expressed its displeasure over poor bank lending to agriculture and allied sectors in the State.

The State principal secretary, finance, Ashok Meena pointed out in the 156th State Level Bankers’ Committee meeting, held here on Monday, that the government enlisted public sector and private banks have achieved only 68.67% of the annual loan target of 2018-19 for the agriculture sector. Similarly, the achievement for milk production is 21.45% and fisheries is 16.33%. He lamented that the achievement is far less than the targets set for the year.

Meena said that the bankers have achieved 84% of the loan disbursement target fixed for the whole year of 2018-19.

The SLBC was told that the government of India is organising Loan Melas in seven districts in first phase for disbursement of loans to agriculture, MSME and retail sectors . The meeting stressed that there should be improvement in loan disbursement for agriculture and allied sectors.

Pointing out that low density of bank branches in the State results in poor financial inclusiveness, he the bankers should open at least five permanent bank branches in gram panchyats where there is no banking facilities.

The additional secretary, financial service department of union finance ministry, Debashis Panda said that the bankers should have more exposure to tourism, handloom & handicraft. He admitted that the State should have more number of bank branches. Panda directed the SLBC to ensure that the Loan Melas would be successful.

Odisha development commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra suggested that Loan Melas should be organised at block level so that the bank services would be available to the people living in remote areas.

UCO bank CEO A.K.Goyal said that bankers have disbursed loans of Rs5853 crore to 1,23,090 people affected in the cyclone Fani.

The SLBC decided that all the bank branches in the State would remain open uniformly from 10 am to 4 pm.

Odisha agriculture principal secretary Sourav Garg, RBI regional director Mahesh Kumar Mall, SBI chief general manager, Pravina Kala, Nabard chief general manager Chandra Sekher, SLBC convenor Chokilingam were present.