In Damurhuda, Chuadanga, various NGO workers have been busy collecting installments in defiance of government directives. As a result, low-income borrowers are in trouble. They are struggling to pay the loan installments. Various small traders run their business activities with loans. In addition to this, many people buy various vehicles including easybikes, three-wheelers, vans, bird vans, alamsadhu with weekly installment loans from NGOs, earn a living from them and pay the loan installments.
Since the start of the second wave of corona, the government has announced a strict lockdown across the country as the death and infection rates have been steadily rising. As a result, the movement of various vehicles including government-private offices-courts, businesses, educational institutions was stopped. As a result, many people lose their income. In such a situation, the low-income borrowers are struggling to pay the NGO loan installments.
Most NGOs provide loans through married women’s associations. At a time when all these suffering borrowers are struggling to run their families. Among them, various NGO workers are begging for house-to-house installment collection, installment is being collected by creating pressure.
Despite government guidelines for maintaining social distance in compliance with hygiene rules, NGO workers are going to the houses of borrowers to collect installments. Some NGO workers are sitting in a house with a table and chairs and are collecting installments from all the women borrowers. At this time, there is no harm in using masks or accepting social distance among women recipients.
Abu Russell of Puratan Hawli village, a Russell electronic trader in Damurhuda Bazar, said the business was set up with a weekly installment loan of Tk 20,000 from an NGO called Bureau Bangladesh in his wife’s name. Businesses have to be shut down due to lockdown. As a result, running the family has become a responsibility. At the end of the week you have to pay five hundred and fifty rupees in installments. NGO people are coming home to take installments. If you can’t pay, you are being threatened in various ways. If the installment is not stopped during the lockdown, we will die without eating.
Abu Hasan Pintu, an easybike driver from Puratan Bastpur village in the upazila, said he had recently bought an easybike when he took a loan of Tk 40,000 from Asha NGO in his wife’s name and had to pay Tk 1,100 a week in installments. I run my family with the income I earn by driving a car and I save something every day and pay a weekly installment. I have been sitting at home for a week in lockdown, no income. The family is running on loan, I can’t think how to pay the installment. If we don’t stop the installment during the lockdown, we will die without eating.
Damurhuda Upazila Nirbahi Officer Dilara Rahman said, “We have not received any instruction on the issue of NGO installment collection this time.” Even then, it is advisable not to extort it for humanitarian reasons. There is no obligation on those who are able to pay.