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Fisherfolk lay siege to Alappuzha SBI office after bank loses loan documents

Fisherfolk lay siege to Alappuzha SBI office after bank loses loan documents

Thiruvananthapuram: The regional office of the State Bank of India (SBI) in Alappuzha came under siege on Thursday morning as local CPI-M legislator P.P. Chitharanjan and a group of fisherfolk protested against the bank's admission of losing the documents provided by 13 individuals as collateral security for a loan taken by their group.

Chitharanjan criticized the SBI, accusing them of mistreating the affected individuals.

“ A group of fisherfolk took a loan in 2005 by pledging their documents and in 2010 the loan was closed. It’s now 13 years that the bank is not doing what they should be doing by returning the documents,” said Chitharanjan.

“ Remember one thing, on quite a few occasions I reminded the bank officials to do the needful. Each time they gave an assurance that it will be done and till date, nothing has happened. So on Thursday, I decided to come with the victims and sit here before the office. All these years the bank never said the reason it is unable to return the documents as they had been lost. More importantly, now they say, the people can have fresh documents made. How is that possible,” asked Chitharanjan.

The loan, taken by fishermen in 2005, was secured against their assets and used to purchase new fishing gear and boats. In 2010, the state government repaid the loan on behalf of the fishermen, as they were unable to do so due to various reasons.

Chitharanjan revealed that the bank officials had repeatedly promised him in the past that the documents would be returned soon, but this promise was never fulfilled.

On Thursday the SBI officials were seen asking the media to leave their premises.

As news of the protest gained traction, the district collector intervened and scheduled a meeting on Friday with all concerned parties to resolve the issue. Consequently, the protesters called off their demonstration.

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