Notice to repay shut unit's loan puzzles SHG members

Members of Isiri Self Help Group (SHG), who had launched the low-cost and hygienic sanitary napkin unit way back in 2011, are at their wits end.

The unit, launched under Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Swaccha Bharath District Support Unit in Laila, was closed down four years ago.

Yet the SHG members have been served notice by the Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies cum Recovery Officer, Puttur, following a complaint by Corporation Bank, Belthangady branch, that the SHG had failed to repay the loan.

The notice served by the Recovery Officer has directed SHG members to appear before the officer and submit their statement on November 30. If they failed to appear before the officer, the bank will initiate steps on recovering the loan amount.

‘’Recovery Officer was also empowered by bank to recover the amount by seizing movable and immovable assets of the SHG,” the notice stated.

The SHG had already repaid Rs 2 lakh to the bank. As the unit was shut down, the SHG could not repay the pending loan. Now, the SHG members had been asked to pay Rs 4,32,430 (pending amount along with interest accrued) to the bank.

“When the unit is declared sick and closed down how can we pay repay the loan,’’ asks Yashodha, a member of Isiri SHG.

The unit launched in August 2011 was manufacturing biodegradable sanitary napkins under the brand name ‘Safety-Feel Free,’ from wood pulp. Though it ran well for four years, it was shutdown owing to lack of support from the officials concerned.

Yashodha said, ‘’The machinery installed for the unit broke down often.”

“We had to struggle to sustain the unit for four years. We are struggling to eke out a living now. We were happy that the unit had provided a way of self employment for us. Now, we are facing problems due to the indifferent attitude of the district support unit,” Yashodha added.

The unit was opened at a cost of Rs 7.33 lakh and Nabard had contributed Rs 4.33 lakh.

The remaining amount was borrowed from the bank as loan, members said.

DK Zilla Panchayat Swaccha Bharath District Support Unit is directly responsible for the problems faced by the members of Isiri SHG, Cleanliness Ambassador for Dakshina Kannada Sheena Shetty said.

“The napkin production unit was a sponsored programme of the ZP Swaccha Bharat District Support Unit. Hence, it is the responsibility of zilla oanchayat to clear the loan by using the award money they had received for the novel initiative,” sources added.

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