Banking, an ordeal for locals

Siraha, February 9:

Customers of banks and financial institutions of Siraha and Udaypur districts which were displaced during the conflict period have been facing a tough time as these institutions have not yet been reinstated.

The financial institutions located at Siraha’s business hub Ramnagar Mirchaiya and Udaypur’s Katari were displaced some three years ago. With no financial institutions there, locals as well as the businessmen of the area have been forced to go to Siraha’s Lahan and Udaypur’s Gaighat.

The Maoists had attacked the Siraha-based Nepal Army’s Chauharba battalion, Bandipur’s police post, area police office of Ramnagar Mirchaiya and Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB) in May, 2005 following which banks and financial institutions shut down their operations in Lahan and Siraha.

RBB located at Udaypur’s western business region, Katari, has been included in the branch office of Ramnagar Mirchaiya branch in Lahan since August-September of 2005 citing security reasons. Residents of 16 VDCs of Siraha and 27 VDCs of Udaypur have been severely affected after these financial organisations reclocated from Ramnagar Mirchaiya and Katari.

Former chairman of Fulbariya VDC, Jibachha Shah said residents are forced to walk a whole day in order to deposit or withdraw cash from the banks.

Moreover customers feel insecure walking back from Lahan with the cash withdrawn from the bank as looting and abductions have increased in the Tarai region.

“People spend a whole day to withdraw cash sent by their relatives from foreign countries,” said Bauyelal Singh, president of Mirchaiya business committee.

Branch manager of Rastriya Banijya Bank Ramnagar Mirchaiya and Katari branch Dev Narayan Pandit, too, claimed banking activities had been affected as the branch offices had not been reinstated in the concerned places.