Despite Central Government and RBI’s moratorium relief on loans in view of the economic stress inflicted by the lockdown, private banks and micro finance organisations are pressurising women self help groups (SHGs) to repay loans.
The members are are being threatened by the “goons” employed by the financing organisations.
In Goda panchayat under Erasama block, atleast 40 women SHGs had taken loans upto Rs 50,000 from a private firm Bharat Finance.
They had committed to pay back in in monthly installments. But their financial condition worsened after the lockdown, leaving them in no condition to pay back loans as they struggled to meet basic needs.
On Thursday, some staff of the company visited these women and issued threats if they failed on their repayment schedule.
They even warned of higher interest charges and police intervention to recover the loan amount. As tension flared, SHG members led by one Swarnalata Behera called up Erasama police for help.
“We have sought help from the administration. The manner in which we are being pressurised is uncalled for,” they said.
There have been many such instances across Erasama, Balikuda, Raghunathpur, Tirtol, Kujang, Biridi, Naugaon and other areas in the district where private bank officials are resorting to force to collect loan installments apart from giving threats.
It may be recalled that in the last District Consultation Committee of bankers, Collector Sangram Kesari Mohapatra had directed to give loan assistance to migrant returnees and women members of SHGs.
“We have no control on private firms with regard to forcible loan recovery. We can only control nationalised banks. Also, beneficiaries should have given written consent to repay loans within a stipulated period,” said Lead Bank Manager, Satish Kumar Patra.