R. Ilangovan

Poor migrants are easy prey to money lenders

More people are coming out with complaints

NAMAKKAL: The Namakkal district administration has launched a strong multi-pronged action, with support from people, industry and law-enforcing agencies, against usurious money lenders who hold hapless workers and weavers in the powerloom belt of Tiruchengode, Pallipalayam and Komarapayam in a vice-like grip.

District Collector U. Sagayam told The Hindu that the action follows the gruesome murder of a CPI (M) functionary at Pallipalayam for daring to go to the police to lodge a complaint against a politically powerful money lender who harassed and abused a poor woman borrower.

A letter from Mr. Sagayam to the District Superintendent of Police A. Pari asking him to take stern action against the lenders has had the desired result. The Collector has asked senior police officials not to hesitate to detain the money lenders even under the Goondas' Act, if necessary. “I will sign the detention papers immediately if they put up the recommendation,” Mr. Sagayam said. Investigation into the CPI (M) leader's murder has already been entrusted with the CB-CID.

Revenue Divisional Officers and Deputy Superintendants of Police have been asked to be extremely vigilant and hold periodic public hearings on cases of money lending, especially in the pockets where the exploitation is severe. . Pallipalayam and Komarapalayam alone have more than 50,000 powerlooms and nearly one lakh work force. Many of them are poor migrants from the southern districts.

A recent public hearing on usury held at Pallipalayam recorded a low turn-out. “None came forward to prefer a complaint against any lender. We understand their fears. We have decided to rope in women self-help groups (SHGs), non-governmental organisations and the public to motivate the affected,” an official said.

Mr. Pari said the police have so far received nine complaints. Six money lenders have been arrested.

“We undertake confidence-building measures and simultaneously take stern action against the menace with a strong hope of eradicating it shortly,” he said.

More In: Today's Paper