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Thursday, October 19, 2000

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Flood relief: Patil to discuss banks' role

CALCUTTA: The Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Balasaheb Vikhye Patil, is likely to visit the State next week to assess how best the banks and insurance companies could help the flood victims in the State.

Mr Patil is to address a special meeting of the State-Level Bankers' Committee here on October 24.

According to sources in United Bank of India, the convenor of SLBC, the estimates of the losses caused by the floods in the State are still being finalised. The job of collecting information has been rendered difficult as many areas continue to be inacce ssible. The recent Puja holidays, when the banks and insurance offices were closed for about a week, also delayed the work.

However, the officials of the banks as well as the State Government, who are on the job, hope to finish their work in the next few days.

As per RBI's guidelines, the banks will reschedule the repayment of the existing loans in view of the crop and other losses the borowers have suffered. Fresh loans will be given for sowing new crops. Also, the banks may be required to give consumption lo ans and housing loans. The insurance companies too will try to assess the losses and, depending on the insurance coverage of the crops and properties, will try to help the victims. -- Our Bureau

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