Congress plans to shelve proposed Kerala Bank project if voted to power in 2021

Kerala Bank gets RBI nod, but HC cases still stand in the way
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Bank, a pet project of the Left Front government, is unlikely to become a reality in the long run as the state's opposition party Congress has made it clear that it plans to shelve the project if voted to power next assembly elections.

The Kerala Bank came into existence last week after the High Court dismissed a clutch of petitions challenging its establishment by merging all 13 District Cooperative Banks (DCB) with the Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB).

The Congress in Kerala on Monday made it clear that if voted to office they would wind up the proposed Kerala Bank.

"If we are elected to office, we will wind up the Kerala Bank. We are soon going to approach the court as this Bank has been created by completely destroying the cooperative sector. We have nothing against a new commercial bank, but we will not allow it to happen at the expense of the sector, which has all through been the lifeline of the state's village economy," State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said.

Ramachandran was reacting to the statement made by the State Cooperation Minister Kadakampally Ramachandran, last week, stating that the Kerala High Court has disposed of the petitions on Friday and there are no impediments to form the bank on March 31 next year.

The present set up of the cooperative banks in the state has a three-tier structure with the primary banks at the grassroots level which are attached to the respective district banks and the apex body is the KSCB.

The state Congress chief said the only prompting reason for the Vijayan government to go forward with the formation of the Kerala Bank is because there is a deposit base of Rs 1.53 lakh crore.

"The state at present is passing through one of its worst ever financial crisis on account of extravagance and poor fiscal management. They now want to place their hands on this huge deposit base and that's the only reason why they are going forward with it. But we make it very clear, if we come to office, this Kerala Bank will be wound up," said Ramachandran, who is a former Union minister.

Kerala will elect a new state government in May 2021.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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