Banks remain days away

Gaighat, November 10:

Two sub-branches of Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) situated at Beltar and Katari bazaar of Udaypur, which were shifted to new locations a few years ago due to security reasons, have not been re-established yet, adversely affecting local farmers and debtors.

The sub-branch offices of Rastriya Banijya Bank in both places were shifted out long before the ADB branch offices were shifted. On one hand, it is unsafe to travel long distance with money and on the other, the customers are facing difficulties in taking loans when they need it, Kedar Katuwal of Beltar said. Also customers are having to spend a lot of money on travelling expenses, which they really can’t afford, he added.

The sub-branch office of ADB at Katari of Udaypur was shifted to Mirchaiya of Siraha district three years ago. Similarly, the ADB sub-branch at Beltar was shifted to Kanchanpur in Saptari district.

Both branch offices were providing service directly to over 5,000 customers of the VDCs of Udaypur. After both the branch offices were shifted, there are no financial institutions in Beltar and Katari, which could provide banking facility to the locals. The locals, who were the customers of both the sub-branch offices, are now compelled to go all the way to neighbouring districts to undertake transactions and for this, they have to spend the entire day.

Chief of Gaighat branch of ADB, Pashupati Chaudhari said the branch offices were shifted due to threats from the Maoists in the past. Employees of the bank said even house owners of the building where branch offices were housed asked banks to move out due to the Maoists. The sub-branch office at Katari was shifted some 27 kms away while the branch office at Beltar was shifted 40 kms away.

There has been decrease in banking transactions as well as repayment of loans and investments after the sub-branch offices were shifted. Locals of over one-dozen VDCs of Udaypur including Hadiya, Sundarpur, Basaha, Rampur, Thoksila, Tapeshwori, Siddhipur, Katanjebwala, Mainamaini and Chaudandi used to be serviced by the ADB sub-branch at Beltar.