ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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DHANBAD-Moneylenders Reign of Terror

January 17, 1976 DHANBAD Moneylenders' Reign of Terror Arun Sinha SHE was pregnant, but did not look young; her face was wrinkled and scarred and she had black rings under her eyes. "I borrowed Rs 400 some years ago I have paid Rs 4,800 as interest", the haggard woman worker spoke up before the deputy collector. "I cannot do otherwise. I cannot say no," She threw up her hands, folded them in the air, and said, her lips violently quivering: "Only death will save me, Balm!". The moneylenders of Dhanbad are all-powerful. Their writ runs across the entire coal belt. Moneylenders are often men of many "Parts. Tin's one, at the Tetulia colliery of Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL), where this woman works, has been a trade union leader, an employee of BCCL, as well as a successful moneylender. As an employee he receives a sizeable salary, as a union leader he commands union funds, but it is as a moneylender that he does roaring business. On paydays, he brings home gunny bags stuffed with notes. Among his clientele is Sohar Bhuyan, a middle-aged worker, who a decade ago took a loan of Hs 200, By the end of 1975, Bhuyan told the deputy collector, the moneylender had extorted Rs 9,600 as interest. ''I give him Rs 20 every week", Bhuyan said "and yet he is not satisfied". In December last the moneylender had turned up one day and ordered Bhuyan to hand over Rs 1,650 Which, he claimed, was the "unpaid Balance". Bhuyan was dumbfounded. "He said if I didn't manage to pay the money, he will beat me, and even kill me" Bhuyan had no douht that the warning was no idle threat. He had been beaten and tortured in the past.

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