NGO ‘recovers’ loan from relief amount of quake-hit Chepangs

- Harihar Singh Rathaur, DHADING
Locals say the organisation also threatened themsaying that it will inform police if the loan amountis not paid back

Jan 21, 2016-The Forum for Community Upliftment System (Focus) Nepal, an organisation engaged in community development in the district, has recovered its loan from

winter relief amount received by quake-hit families in Jogiara VDC.

The organisation allegedly recovered its loan given to impoverished Chepang families for income generating programmes five years ago.Six hundred quake-hit families had received the winter relief in the VDC. The relief was distributed to the families by the Forum for Awareness and Youth Activity, Nepal (FAYA-Nepal), another organisation involved in providing public services. There are around 650 Chepang households living in Jogimara VDC.

Each Chepang family received a cheque of Rs 10,000 and cashed it at a counter of the Everest Bank in Jogimara on Tuesday. However, Focus Nepal volunteers, including Srijana Shrestha, collected the amount soon after the Chepangs received the cash.

The organisation had formed various groups comprising 150 people in the Chepang settlements and provided them loans for income generation programmes such as vegetable farming as well as goat and pig rearing five years ago under the Poverty Alleviation Fund.

Local teacher Ram Kumar Chepang said the programme failed due to lack of social mobility. “Chepangs cannot earn money rearing goats and pigs, but some of them were compelled to sell the animals to pay back loans. Though a majority of impoverished Chepangs could not pay back loans on time, the amount was doubled in five years,” he said.Siddhilal Chepang of Laitap in Jogimara-1 said a group of 27 Chepangs formed the Mahakali group and took Rs 10,000 loans for goat rearing in the village.

“We could not keep goats for a long due to some problems. The organisation reduced instalments by Rs 2,000 last year. However, they said we have to pay back Rs 10,000 this year,” said Siddhilal, adding that the organisation also threatened villagers saying that they will inform police of the matter.Bhim Bahadur Chepang, another local from Laitap, also shared a similar story. “I was also forced to pay back Rs 5,000,” he said.

Tilak Chepang, member of the Nepal Chepang Association, said the organisation recovered around Rs 500,000 from quake-hit families. “Poor Chepangs got nothing though the government provided them relief for winter,” he said.

The organisation, meanwhile, said some locals failed to pay back around Rs 10

million. Programme Coordinator Lal Prasad Pokharel said they mobilised their staffers to collect the dues. “We have started recovering the amount from villagers who could not repay,” he said.

Local Development Officer Bhagawan Aryal said it’s unfair to receive the money distributed to quake victims as winter relief. “There are several ways and alternatives of clearing dues,” Aryal said, adding that the District Disaster Management Committee will investigate into the matter.




Published: 21-01-2016 09:22

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