Usurers on the prowl at Rangat

Report by: 
M SENTHIL KUMAR
RANGAT
18 Apr 2017

Routine prudence advised by the law enforcing agencies notwithstanding, illegal money lending business has registered a boom in Middle Andaman region particularly Rangat. If reports are to be believed, the money lending business has become rampant here and people are increasingly  falling prey to the loan sharks, who offer easy finance to borrowers by mortgaging  jewellery or other articles, and levy exorbitant interest. People here are now demanding strict enforcement of the law in force to rein in the usurers who feed on economically underprivileged sections like small scale vendors, daily wage labourers, farmers etc.
According to sources, the illegal money lending business in the Middle Andaman region has mushroomed in the recent years and many operate the trade without valid licenses. Without any check by the concerned authorities, the loan sharks, who start with minimal finance, have thrived over the years by resorting to unlawful practices. “It’s comparatively easy to obtain loan from a private lender compared to banks and other registered finance companies. They provide hassle-free finance by mortgaging items particularly gold and silver and charge high interest in return. It’s only later, when people realize that they have been deceived. Constant pressure from the money lenders to repay the loan amount and high amount accrued on interest led to severe mental distress. There have been instances when debtors opt to commit suicide due to the pressure created by the money lenders,” said some residents of Rangat.
“It’s the poor sections of the society who are the worst suffers of this illegal, but flourishing money lending business. Small time traders look for easy finance to boost their business and land into the trap of these loan sharks. There is literally no check on the illegally operating money lenders and people too are not aware of the provisions available in the law to prevent harassment of borrowers by the usurers. There are states in the country which have formulated separate regulations to check the interest rates imposed by private money lenders besides other provisions which entails imprisonment if a borrower commits suicide due to harassment by money lenders. The law enforcing agencies here should also take necessary steps to stop mushrooming of illegal private money lending business besides creating awareness among the people to prevent them from being exploited by the loan sharks,” demanded some others.