New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern over non-implementation of its directions on the issue of monetary assistance to farmers in drought-affected areas, saying that non-disbursement of loans to them is a "reality".
"Rains have started. What is the use of our directions and day-long hearings when our orders are not being implemented? This is a reality that farmers are not getting loans. This is a generalised situation. You (the Centre) should verify whether banks are disbursing loans to farmers or not," a bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and NV Ramana said.
The apex court, hearing a PIL on the plight of farmers in 12 drought-hit states, including Gujarat, asked Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha to verify the condition of farmers in distress-hit areas and respond by September 14.
The observation came when Yogendra Yadav, the founding member of petitioner NGO 'Swaraj Abhiyan', alleged that farmers were being treated like "dirt" and no restructuring of loans was being done for them.
"The loans are being restructured only for corporate houses. Notices are being sent to defaulting farmers and their pictures are getting published in newspapers as defaulters," he said.
The Additional Solicitor General said that "allegations of this nature do not take us anywhere and making a statement that nothing is happening on the ground will not serve any purpose".
He said authorities and institutions were in place for dealing with such situations and effort should be made to strengthen them. Remedy-granting authorities should be put in place, he said.
To this, the bench said, "Our concern is for institutions. If the government responds to the issues then we need not interfere. It is your institutions and you need to make these work. It was for this reason that we did not appoint court commissioners for implementation of our directions in this case," it said.
During the hearing, Yadav alleged that he along with his team, travelled around 250 kms and went through 100 villages in the month of May and found a very distressing picture there.
"Not even a single village in these areas has been given ration. The orders of this court to provide for the midday meal in schools during the summer vacation period have not been implemented. Orissa, Haryana and Bihar have openly defied the directions and say this order does not apply to these states," he said.
Earlier, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for NGO, had said that loans in the drought-hit areas should be restructured and short-term loans converted to term loans and long-term loans to help the farmers in distress.
On May 13, the court had asked the Centre to release all the outstanding and necessary funds for MNREGA scheme to the states and directed it to pay compensation for delayed wages to the farmers in drought-affected areas.
The PIL has alleged that parts of 12 states -- Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh -- were hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief.