•      Sat Apr 13 2024

Govt urges usury victims to sit for talks, MoHA forms committee

Kathmandu, Feb 25: Although the government had claimed that it addressed the problems of usury victims, the usury victims have been gathering in the federal capital yet again to exert pressure on the government so that their problems would be resolved sustainably.

In response, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has invited the protesting victims of usury for talks. The MoHA sent a letter to the Struggle Committee formed by the victims of extortionate money-lending and called for the discussion on Sunday.

A talk team coordinated by Joint-Secretary of the MoHA, Rudra Prasad Pandit, will have two more Under-Secretaries, informed Ek Dev Adhikari, Under-Secretary of the MoHA. The team has asked the protesting loan-shark victims to form a five-member talk team at maximum and hold dialogue, added Adhikari.

“Informal talks are being held with the loan-shark victims at present. We have urged them to sit for talk today itself if possible. They are in touch with us and undergoing internal discussions.” Adhikari said, sharing an insight into the matter.

The MoHA said that its attention was drawn towards callouts, sit-ins and demonstrations of those suffering from extortionate money-lending.

The Ministry appraised that efforts were underway for reconciliation between the victims and loan sharks through various means such as amendment in the related laws and formation of a high-powered commission.

Similarly, the Ministry was considering formulation of procedures in the wake of dissolution of the same Commission upon expiry of its tenure to address usury related complaints, he added.

According to the Ministry, Nepal Police has been entrusted with the responsibility of registering the cases that eluded consensus between the two parties in accordance with the prevailing laws, while the Chief District Officers will monitor the process.

The usury victims, however, have not agreed the Ministry’s statement.

They arrived and gathered in the federal capital after marching for 23 days from various places across the country, last Friday. Although laws were put in place to address their problems, the law, as they felt, was lax in implementation and delayed justice.

It may be noted that a Bill on usury was endorsed by the parliament through an ordinance seeking an amendment to the Criminal Code which defined usury as a criminal offence last July.

Victims claim that the legislation fell flat to address their demands. They are for formation of a high-powered commission and an amendment to prevailing legislation. #Nepal