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January 29, 2001
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Banks' panel to assess quake damage, provide relief

A committee of all major banks in Gujarat has been set up to assess the earthquake damage and provide relief to the victims -- individuals and industries.

The decision was taken at a meeting held on Monday by Shekhar Agarwal, joint secretary in the banking division of the finance ministry, with chairmen and managing directors of leading banks.

The committee, headed by Dena Bank chairman A.G. Joshi, would visit Gujarat within a week and meet Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and the chief secretary, besides assessing the damage from the bankers' point of view, Agarwal told reporters after the meeting.

The committee would also decide on the relief to be extended.

A meeting of the state-level bankers' committee (SLBC) headed by Joshi, which meets once in three months, would hold a special meeting before February ten to chalk their concrete course of action under the standing guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India on natural calamities.

The committee would decide on rescheduling of loans, grant of fresh loans and grant of consumption loans.

A control room of all banks would be set up soon to ensure that the bank branches in the affected areas start function as quickly as possible. It would also provide solutions to lack of cash, staff and building.

Public and private sector banks, who were members of the Indian Banks Association, also decided to contribute from their profits Rs 250 million to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, besides making an appeal to their employees to part with a day's salary.

Among the banks which attended the meeting are NABARD, SIDBI, Bank of India, NHB, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab and Sind Bank, Central Bank of India, and Reserve Bank of India.



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